Fetal cells used to treat ALS

Americans seek glial cell transplants in Beijing for spinal injury and other conditions

Paul Mooney(pjmooney@mac.com)
Jul 29, 2004

BEIJING—From the outside, the Chaoyang Hospital looks nothing like a state-of-the-art medical facility. The pavement outside the old red-brick building is broken, while patients inside lie on hospital cots in grim, dark hallways.

Despite its appearance, the hospital has become a magnet for patients with spinal cord injuries, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinson disease from all over the world. They come to find neurosurgeon Huang Hongyun, who is using fetal tissue transplants in the hope of repairing neurological damage.

Over the past 3 years, Huang told The Scientist, he has used fetal tissue transplants to treat more than 450 patients. He now has 1000 Chinese and foreign patients on a waiting list, including about 100 Americans, who find him via the Internet or word of mouth. He has also used the procedure to treat strokes, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and brain injuries with, he says, "equally positive results."...

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