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Wednesday, June 1, 2005

"Money Talks, Nobody Walks"

There was a front page article in my local paper yesterday about the sad plight of a 2-year-old girl paralyzed from the waist down by surgery [the article ID # is Article ID: 2769082, but after a few days, they charge you], and how the family is pinning all its hopes on ESCR and my state's newly approved $100 million research funding over the next 10 years. I just wrote a letter to the paper's editor, cc'd everyone in the state capitol (all 193 of them from the Governor on down) and the biotech lobbyists pushing for this windfall. I am incensed.

Dear Mssrs. Daly and Winters,

The phrase, "Money talks, nobody walks" has become a chilling truth in this state.

Your May 31 story about Jessica and Daniel Hernandez’s paralyzed two-year-old daughter is heartbreaking, but even more so because the medical "breakthrough" they are hoping to find with embryonic stem cells is already here, with adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells. The mass media, including this paper, and the Connecticut General Assembly (excepting Representative T.R. Rowe) are ignoring this news in favor of pursuing massive jobs creation for the state.

An American quadriplegic and another paraplegic, treated with stem cells from their nasal cavities, walked again in 2004. Cord blood stem cells healed this South Korean woman’s spinal cord. She was paralyzed for twenty years and walked again in November 2004:

(Caption is erroneous; it was cordblood stem cell therapy, according to the article.) Posted by Hello Photo courtesy of FRC.

Dr. Carlos Lima, a neuropathologist of Egaz-Moniz Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, helped quadriplegic Laura Dominguez of San Antonio, CA and 25 other persons including one other American, to walk again. This information is confirmed by one Dr. Jean D. Peduzzi-Nelson, a co-researcher at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, AL. Both patient and doctor testified to this under oath at the United States Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space hearing last July 14, 2004. Last July!

Did this get written up by the Associated Press, your newspaper, or anywhere mainstream? No. None of that testimony saw the light of day except on the Senate website: not one of the two sets of sworn testimonies on the success of non-Embryonic Stem Cell Research in that Senate hearing from five doctors and six patients (whose Parkinson’s, quadriplegia, paraplegia, ALD and leukemia were treated successfully). [Accessed at: and]

The Portuguese doctor performs "olfactory mucosa transplantation," transplanting stem cells from the nasal area into the injured area (for the scientific, the stem cells became "renewable neurons, remyelinating olfactory ensheathing cells, and progenitor stem cells"). The patients then returned home to continue treatment. In Dominguez’s case, her spinal cord began healing immediately, a 70% recovery. Six months later, sensation from her neck to her abdomen had returned. Three years after her accident, in 2004, she could stand using a walker for extended periods and had walked 1400 feet using braces and assistance. This young woman, now 20, "hopes to walk unassisted by the time she turns 21."

It is a crime that this paper and the entire major media ignore this sworn testimony and these scientific facts. The Connecticut General Assembly as well has ignored this entirely. I know: I wrote them all individually this past January telling them all of the above.

The media and the CGA should be held accountable for their "blacking-out" this news. By keeping this news from the public in the name of pursuing "the long-term spinoff to Connecticut's economy...estimated at $2 Billion...[in part from newly-paid] income taxes," both entities have to own up to the fact that they are responsible for putting good people like the Hernandezes through hell, allowing them the false hope of waiting for what won’t come with embryonic stem cell research, but already has—with adult stem cells.

Instead of pouring state money into fruitless research, why doesn't Governor Rell pay for the Hernandezes' Portugal trip and surgery instead? Why doesn't the CGA fund a doctor doing that proven research, right here in Connecticut?

Annie Banno

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