Without relying on controversial embryonic stem cells, a vaccine has been developed that appears to help patients with multiple sclerosis. The vaccine’s results were reported in early testing and was developed by scientists in Canada. This breakthrough could potentially lead to greater treatment leverage for patients with multiple sclerosis without conflicting with the views of pro-life advocates who oppose the use of the embryonic cells because days-old unborn children must be destroyed to get them.
The vaccine relies on the insertion of healthy DNA into a patient with the debilitating disease and was developed at the Montreal Neurological Institute by Dr. Amit Bar-Or.
30 patients tested the vaccine with half receiving a placebo and the other half receiving an actual injection of the BHT-3009. In those given the vaccine, the numbers of white blood cells that deplete myelin in MS patients reduced reported The London Telegraph.
According to his report in the journal Archives of Neurology, “BHT-3009 was safe and well tolerated, provided favorable trends on brain MRI and produced beneficial immune changes.”
A larger study involving 290 patients is now being arranged reported the newspaper.
The slowing of the progress of the MS disease occurred without the use of embryonic stem cells noted Wesley J. Smith who is a noted author and attorney and one of the leading bioethics watchdogs.
“We’ve heard the mantra repeatedly: embryonic stem cells are the only hope (or the best hope) for curing this disease and that disease. But the evidence continues to grow that this just isn’t true,” he said in response to the study.
“Adult stem cells have stopped the progression of the disabling disease in Stage 2 human trials. Now, a different approach in early human trials is also showing promise,” he added.
“There is so much going on in biotechnology that has nothing to do with cloning and ESCR,” Smith concluded. “It’s time to stop the hype and acknowledge that embryonic stem cell research is merely one of many potential biotechnological approaches for treating diseases–most of the others being utterly non morally contentious.”