Ethical stem cells transforming lives

Patients who have been helped by the use of adult stem cells have shared their stories of how the ethical treatments changed their lives.

Unlike embryonic stem cells, ethical adult cells do not require the destruction of embryos.

And it is these, not embyronic stem cells, that have successfully been used in an expanding number of areas in recent years.


James O’Donnell suffered from a life-threatening blood disorder. He recently met Leah McDougall, the bone marrow donor who saved his life.

Speaking at an event for blood cancer charity DKMS, he told her: “Superheroes save lives and that’s what you’ve done.”

Normal treatments had no effect on O’Donnell’s blood disorder, aplastic anaemia, which led him to seek a donor for a bone marrow transplant.

Knee arthritis

Andrew Robinson underwent a chondrotissue graft procedure for knee arthritis.

The surgery involved drilling into Robinson’s bone, releasing stem cells which were caught by an inserted “scaffold”, where cartilage was then encouraged to grow.

His consultant orthopaedic surgeon said: “In a stable knee, the cartilage stimulated by stem cells could last 20 years or more”, delaying a knee replacement.


Dave Randle had his own bone marrow stem cells transplanted to his heart after it wasn’t pumping enough oxygenated blood round his body.

He said, “I started to feel better within weeks and my left ventricular ejection is 38 per cent, which doctors say is an amazing improvement.”

Stem cell treatment halted the progress of Reema Sandhu’s multiple sclerosis and eased Deepan Shah’s Chrohn’s disease.

New treatments

In recent years there have been regular reports of medical breakthroughs using ethical, adult stem cells.

September 2019: Sight restored to acid attack victim thanks to ethical stem cell treatment.

August 2019: Ethical stem cells could extend ‘golden hour’ for stroke patients.

June 2019: Stem cell ‘pumping heart patch’ offers hope to heart attack patients.

November 2018: Stem cells could provide solution to cleft palates.