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Cuba, Pinar del Rio and the stem cells
A new age is coming for medicine with the implantation of stem cells, which has emerged in the scientific world with a huge impact in biology and biomedicine.

In November 1998, James Thomson, scientist of Wisconsin University announced in Science magazine that he had reached one of the most ambitioned goals of biology: he had isolated and grown a kind of primitive cell able to shapeshift into any of the 220 tissues of the organism.

That day the doors to a medical revolution were opened. The enthusiasm of the scientists who make research on stem cells take them to imagine a very close future, and then will exist the possibility, for instance, to get some of these cells from a patient, to grow them in a laboratory, inject them again and let them repair damaged tissues.

Cuba, Pinar del Rio and the stem cells
More than a year ago Cuba has begun a Clinic Test taken to several provinces, including Pinar del Rio.

Doctor Ana Lidia Hernandez, specialist in Angiology and Vascular Surgery told us about this new fact, and noted that despite the recent beginning of stem cells implantations at "Abel Santamaria" Hospital, good results have been achieved.

"Stem cells are defined as primal cells, able to renew themselves and to differentiate into a diverse range of specialized cell types. In our country they are used in treatments for chronic arterial insufficiency.

"For this illness stem cells that appear in the blood are taken after been estimulated with Leucocin, a Cuban medicine, then the patient is undergone to a 1000 cc blood extraction, the blood is processed by transfusion technique, hence these cells are obtained.

"The next step is to inject them to the patient in the muscle of the leg or the thigh, according to the obstruction level.

"The treatment lasts around four or five days, then it takes a process to know the clinic condition of the patient and the last thing is to make a test to determine his evolution".

Symptoms and ailments

According to doctor Ana Lidia, the principal characteristic of this ailment is the pain the patient feels when walking, which is called intermittent claudication.

"Chronic arterial insufficiency has four stages and the last of course is the most traumatic, because it is necessary to amputate; precisely stem cells low the amputation level when estimulating the creation of new vessels, in fact we have had some good results.

Though the project is still young, there are already encouraging results. Around 10 patients have been treated by this new science advance.

"Here we treated a woman from Briones Montoto who had to stop walking every 100 meters, and after the treatment she can walk more than 1 000 meters", referred Ana Lidia.

"Another case was a man who arrived with a lesion in one of his toes and after the stem cells implant the lesion disappeared and he is working today.

"Even a colleague of this hospital with an arterial obstruction, did not admit any other treatment, and it was decided to do the implant and he is much better now.

It seems that stem cells can be used to treat some other ailments, because according to doctor Ana Lidia, one of the cases suffered from psoriasis, and the cells were implanted in the leg, and the patient not only got better, but psoriasis disappeared too, and that opens new challenges to medicine.

Last month, in the Cuban capital, was held the event ANGIOCARIBE 2007, where Antonio Jesus Diaz, one the doctors who has worked the most with this new medical revolution, presented a work exposing the results obtained in the province thanks to the implantation of stem cells.

Around the world
According to some medical publications, consulted in the Internet, there are many medicine areas in which the research on stem cells would have and outstanding impact.

They can renew a tissue and even heal some diseases that nowadays do not have an appropriate therapy.

Though research on stem cells had the potential to promote important medical advances, such as the cure to many diseases, they generate controversy.

Right now is almost impossible to predict something. Rather, the only available thing is to make questions about it, and the answers will just be discovered in the indispensable advances of the biology of the stem cells.

Source: By Idalma Menéndez Febles, Guerrillero

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