We have just returned from our most recent visit to the UK to collect Tomas´s new adapted wheelchair and having a casting for his new leg calipers. These aids should both compliment his physiotherapy sessions by helping to improve his back, trunk, hip, leg and foot positioning.
We also took time out to visit the Bioeden stem cell laboratories in the goverment sponsored Science and Innovation Centre in Daresbury, near Warrington, to see a specialist in stem cell replication and storage from Tomas’s milk teeth when they become loose in the next year or so.
We had a really informative meeting with the director of the company who gave us a few really good contacts in Liverpool, Manchester, London and the US in the area of ongoing stem cell research into Tomas’s areas of disability.
We are really excited about the future potential of stem cell research and are even more determined to keep working towards our goal of stem cell treatment for Tomas in the future.
It’s a fascinating area of medical research that has been researched for over 40 years in some of its areas of application and is already helping both adults and children with leukaemia and cancer of the bone marrow to acheive remission from otherwise fatal conditions. It is also helping to reduce the debilitating symptoms of Parkinsons Disease and repair other physical damaged areas of the body e.g. the wind pipe, the cornea of the eye etc, to name but a few.
Stem cells can be taken from various areas of the body e.g. Umbilical Cords, Cord Blood, Normal Blood, Teeth, Hair, Nails etc. The younger the stem cells the more healthy they are likely to be and as usual the closer the match between the recipient and the donor the better. Using stem cells from the recipients own body can generically be referred to as personalised medicine and this form of treatment has a better chance of avoiding rejection problems. The good thing about the stems cells sourced from the internal pulp of the teeth are that these types of stem cells are able to be replicated and therefore a larger sample can be obtained for use and for research purposes.
The unique thing about stem cells is that thay have been seen to possess a homing ability so that they are able to target the areas of damage and repair/ regenerate those areas in a way that has not been available in the past. The help to ensure that the stem cells remain in the area that needs treatment, global reasearch into a method called scaffolding, involving developing 3 dimentional structures that can provide a more conducive microenvironment for cell cultures to grow tissues. The scaffold itself may be transplanted directly into the body and this can then be used in regenerative medicine, such as skin grafts or neurons to replace brain cells lost to injury or disease.
Since Tomas has damage to the brain, this falls into this more complicated area of research, but they are already making progress and people of all ages are already donating stem cells to help further this and other areas of research for the future.
Along with replicating and storing Tomas’s stem cells for the future, we will also be donating cells to help in this research.