Today the Charlotte Lozier Institute released its newest Stem Cell Research Facts video telling the story of 10-year-old Devon Weaver of Arizona. For many years, Devon’s parents and doctors were mystified as to why he struggled with everyday activities such as sitting up by himself and feeding himself, and why at four years old his bone density was that of a two-year-old. Finally, when Devon was eight, he was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML) – a high-risk leukemia with a slim survival rate of 5 to 10 percent in children.
“It was a leukemia that would have been very difficult to get into remission with (just) chemotherapy. Until recently, these were patients with very little chance for survival,” explains Dr. Emmanuel Katsanis, one of Devon’s doctors and the Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. “If you don’t die from a bleed, you will die of an infection. If you don’t get any treatment and it continues to proliferate, it obviously infiltrates other organs.”
An adult stem cell transplant was Devon’s only chance at life, and this in itself presented another challenge. Because of a genetic anomaly, Devon’s family members were disqualified to be his bone marrow donors for the transplant. Typically, adult stem cells come from “banked” umbilical cord blood saved from birth or from bone marrow of family members who are most likely to have the right blood type match.
Against the odds, however, a search of the worldwide network of blood and marrow donors yielded one perfect “10 for 10” match from a 30-year-old man in Germany. Devon’s mother, Sunshine Weaver, recalls, “Here’s this guy we’ve never met, who has no idea who we are, and suddenly he’s the answer to our prayers for Devon.”
To see how Devon’s story of recovery unfolds, watch CLI’s new video here:
Devon Weaver’s story is the latest example of the life-saving ability of non-controversial adult stem cells, which do not require the destruction of a human life for the healing of another.
Recent reports from the U.K. have also shown the success of adult stem cell transplants to treat patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Dr. David Prentice, Ph.D., Vice President and Research Director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, explains more in a new article:
The results are part of an FDA-approved, ongoing clinical trial, with collaborations between investigators in the U.S., U.K., Sweden and Brazil. The phase 3 trial originally started in 2006, and has been adding patients and observing results since that time.…
In early 2015, the international group reported some of their own initial results with relapsing-remitting MS patients that were surprising. Not only did the adult stem cell reboot stop disease progression, but it actually reversed the neurological disability for many patients… Dr. Burt noted that this is the only therapy to date shown to reverse neurological deficits in relapsing-remitting MS. (Emphasis added)
Devon and the patients with MS in this latest ongoing clinical trial are now counted among the more than 1 million patients worldwide who have been treated with hematopoietic (blood and bone marrow) transplants.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute began supporting Stem Cell Research Facts in January 2015, and plans to continue sponsoring inspiring videos like Devon Weaver’s to raise awareness about the life-saving, research-based, and ethical option of adult stem cell treatment.