A woman regained her vision following a stem cell treatment which Is under the cloud of controversies!
Many doctors and scientists have been trying to return vision of many people by the help of stem cell treatment. Stem cell treatment has nothing to do with drugs. Dr. Weiss, who is a well-known scientist has been extracting stem cells from the bone marrow of people who are blind and injecting the same into their retina as well as optic nerve. The good news is that some of the patients have regained their vision partly and some wholly. One of those patients was known as Vanna Belton who also underwent a stem cell treatment procedure and has now regained her vision.
1 The treatment seemed to be controversial
Though the stem cell treatment was a great success, the treatment was said to be controversial because of a variety of reasons. It was said that Dr.Weiss was not following the usual procedure clinically. This test was not conducted on lab animals or computer models as he was supposed to do initially. He also did not use any trial based method by using either stem cells or placebos in the people around. The procedure was also not tested for safety on a small group of people before this was tested on a big group.
2 Why was the doctor able to avoid these initial steps?
It is assumed that Dr. Weiss was able to avoid these initial steps because stem cells are not known to be a drug. Stems cells need to be extracted from a patient’s body with very less processing and then these cells have to be used on the same patient who would be undergoing the treatment. The doctor also concluded that 60% of his 278 patients who were blind because of glaucoma and macular degeneration have also managed to regain some of their vision. He also published a paper as well as a case study on his work in the Neural Regeneration research.
3 How is the stem cell treatment done?
The whole procedure of stem cell treatment takes about 5 hours. In the above case, the stem cells were extracted from the bone marrow of the hip of the patient and then injected into different parts of the eye due to which she slowly regained some her sight. Though the procedure worked miraculously for the woman, Dr. Weiss could not really vouch on the fact that how it worked.
Stem cell treatment is known to be one of the best treatments that are undergoing several research works by scientists all over the world. They are also working on the potential of stem cell treatments in the other parts of the body.
4 The stem cell procedure that gave the woman her eyes!
The procedure took place at the Johns Hopkins Hospital where Dr. Weiss extracted the stem cells from a blind woman’s bone marrow and injected them into two areas of her eyes. They were the right eye’s retina and her left eye’s optic nerve.Vanna Belton has been blind for more than 5 years and after six months of the procedure, she started regaining her vision- though she was not completely cured, but she could see the license plates of cars and travel without a walking stick.
5 The different assumptions of Dr. Weiss’s paper
Dr. Weiss’s paper assumes that there were different mechanisms for visual improvements in the woman. There were various published researches as well that gave enough proof that his procedures were alright. The bone marrow cells secrete protective growth factors that helped in contributing vision to the cells. He tried to figure out a way in which stem cells can cure an eye disease. This is a medical process and not a scientific one for the time being.
Dr. Weiss’s procedure is known to be controversial because he is not associated with any kind of academic institutions as of now. He has been performing all his researches independently in a NIH registered clinical trial that is called Stem Cell Ophthalmology Treatment Study. Dr. Weiss moved on with his research pretty fast and his study which is sponsored by Retina Associates of South Florida did not hamper him or his work. He was also not subjected to precise standards and methods that are required by most studies.
Dr. Weiss has considerably achieved success in his methods by implementing them on his patients and he believes that he would definitely find a solution to improve his research.