My wife saw this story on the nightly news, and I googled it. Sounds like a rather unusual, but perfectly ethical use of stem cells. Notice, no human beings are destroyed in the process...
Foot wounds dangerous to diabetics
Monday, July 04, 2005
By Kathleen Longcore
The Grand Rapids Press
GRAND RAPIDS -- Dennis Rogers is still trying to heal a foot burned by hot grease last Thanksgiving when he was taking the turkey out of the oven while in his stocking feet.
For most people, a burn like his would have healed in a month. But Rogers, 54, is diabetic, and he still has an open sore on his right foot.
Foot and leg wounds that don't heal are dangerous complications of diabetes that can lead to infection and amputations, said Dr. Richard Hodgson, a wound care specialist at Spectrum Health. However, they are common, with about 2.5 million people in the United States suffering from a chronic unhealed foot or leg wound.
[and later in the article]
Rogers, a Greenville father of 10, said two stays in the Spectrum Blodgett burn unit included grafts of skin from his thigh. But these didn't heal.
Now a different kind of skin graft at Spectrum's wound care center is helping.
Grafts he's getting weekly for eight weeks came from stem cells from the foreskin of a circumcised infant. Produced by a Florida-based firm, Smith and Nephew Inc., the grafts use cells called fibroblasts that are rich in growth factors. They are cultured on fine material that is laid over the wound like a skin substitute.
Cells on the graft Hodgson placed on Rogers' foot this week will become part of his system and help him heal.
Novartis is another company using these stem cell building blocks to make substitute skin for grafts. The two companies, wary of protests from anti-circumcision and anti-stem cell groups, stress they are using noncontroversial stem cells from what was medical waste.