Canadian stem cell funding surge underscores U.S. uncertainty

Canadian stem cell funding surge underscores U.S. uncertainty

For years, Lauralyn McIntyre has witnessed first-hand how quickly and brutally septic shock can throw a patient’s life into jeopardy.

It can cause pretty much every organ in your body to fail, said the critical-care physician and senior scientist with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Septic shock arises when the body’s immune system goes overboard in response to an infection and begins attacking its own tissues. In Canada, it accounts for 100,000 admissions to intensive care annually, with about one-third of cases ending in death. Many of those who survive experience lifelong damage to their health.

Now Dr. McIntyre is hoping a experimental stem cell treatment will allow her to gain the upper hand on a relentless killer. The treatment involves an emergency infusion of mesenchymal stem cells – cells generated from donors’ bone marrow – in order to calm down the body’s defenses. Based on data gleaned from animal tests, the stem cells seem to restore the immune system back to a normal state, Dr. McIntyre said.


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