Patient: Ryan (04:50)
Ryan was a college basketball player, who suffered a neck injury and became paralyzed from the chest down. Ryan is part FDA-approved clinical trials using stem cells.
Patient: Steve (01:50)
Steve discovered he had a brain tumor after he started acting strangely one night. He prepares to get part of it removed.
Patient: Rosie (04:23)
Rosie went legally blind 13 years ago from retinitis pigmentosa. She participates in a clinical trial and gets an injection of stem cells into her eye.
Patient: Andrew (06:10)
Andrew has HIV and receives an infusion of stem cells. The treatment is risky, but Andrew wants to do something to help others with HIV. Doctors believe stem cells help strengthen the immune system.
Patient: Cheryl (03:57)
Cheryl has lymphoma, an aggressive but treatable cancer. Proposition 71 in California approved the spending of $3 billion on stem cell research. Robert Klein is head of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine which is conducting 42 human trials.
Patient: Ava (02:41)
Erica's daughter Ava has severe combined immunodeficiency; she has no immune system. Ava received numerous medical treatments before her first birthday.
Ryan's Treatment (04:23)
Ryan participates in a clinical trial and receives an injection of stem cells into his spinal cord. The treatment, led by Dr. Richard Fessler at Rush University, had to get approval from the FDA.
Stem Cell Therapy (04:30)
Dr. Irv Weissman explains the science behind stem cell transplants. He believes pharmaceutical companies blocked stem cell research because it would be less profitable. An early trial has cured numerous women with breast cancer.
Rosie's Family (02:13)
Rosie gave birth to twins at 23 weeks and her son, Alessandro, had a brain hemorrhage. She and her husband watch Alessandro compete. Rosie relies on the strength of her family and God to get through challenges.
Steve's Treatment (03:58)
Steve goes in for his stem cell treatment. He and his wife have been together 12 years and have two kids. They have been dealing with his brain tumor for 10 years.
Cheryl's Treatment (03:27)
Cheryl was recommended to the stem cell trial after her cancer returned. Dr. Forman hopes it will eliminate any cancer cells remaining after Cheryl's chemotherapy treatments. Doctors will extract T-cells and train them to target cancer cells.
Steve's Recovery (03:56)
Steve is home with his family after brain surgery. Doctors removed his tumor and injected CAR T-cells to manage microscopic tumor cells.
Ryan's Recovery (05:24)
Ryan's surgery was successful, but his doctor does not expect improvement for six months. Ryan's mobility will return as the stem cells reach each part of his spine. Lucas was also paralyzed from the chest down but regained movement after a stem cell study.
Andrew's Treatment (01:21)
HIV is treatable but expensive. Andrew's doctor explains that he is going to remove the virus from Andrew's stem cells and then reinsert them.
Rosie's Improvement (04:07)
Rosie's vision began improving a month after treatment. She explains the misconceptions about stem cells and abortion. Embryotic stem cells became a political issue in the early 2000s.
Ava's Treatment (03:36)
Erica and Ava had to leave their family on a Navajo reservation for Ava's treatments. After a Navajo protection ceremony, Erica learned about the stem cell trial. The treatment could be used to replace chemotherapy.
Embryotic Stem Cells (02:16)
Weissman explains how embryotic stem cells become blood forming stem cells. President George W. Bush banned funding for the creation of new stem cell lines, limiting treatment uses; Prop 71 allowed it to continue in California.
Ryan's Homecoming (05:13)
Ryan leaves the hospital, four months after his stem cell treatment. Ryan and his family are readjusting to his situation, while keeping a positive attitude.
Rosie's Progress (05:16)
Rosie has a vision test six months after her treatment and notices a stark difference with her treated eye. She hopes more vision returns, allowing for more independence.
Ryan's Progress (05:02)
Ryan has regained movement in his arms and some in his hands. Dr. Fessler has been conducting the stem cell study for 20 years and received death threats in the early days. Ryan attends a welcome home ceremony at his high school.
Steve's Progress (04:15)
Steve's tumor continues to grow, and he and his wife consider a second stem cell treatment. His doctor thinks numerous treatments will be necessary.
Andrew's Progress (03:48)
Andrew nears the end of his stem cell treatment. His doctor wants to see if Andrew's cells are strong enough for him to stop taking HIV medication. Klein believes valuable years of research were lost during Bush's presidency.
Ava's Progress (02:34)
Ava has been improving since the injections and was able to leave isolation. Erica talks about the difficulty of dealing with Ava's condition.
Steve's Anniversary (04:51)
Steve and his wife celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. Steve struggles to read the short vows he wrote. Weissman voices frustrations over how fetal tissue can be used in research.
Andrew's Support Network (03:09)
Andrew finds strong support in the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. He tells the group about his treatment. Andrew hopes he is helping find a cure for HIV.
Cheryl's Progress (07:29)
Cheryl has a clean scan two months after her treatment but does not want to be too positive. She is encouraged that the treatment could be a better alternative to chemotherapy.
Ava's B-Cells (02:20)
Ava has started to grow B-cells. Her doctor is hopeful that the treatment could be expanded and reduce the need for other patients to get bone marrow transplants.
Lucas' Recovery (03:03)
Lucas returns to his job of building computers after stem cell treatment. His doctor explains the doubt about the treatment before Lucas' surgery.
Rosie's Vision Improvements (02:38)
Nine months after treatment, Rosie's vision in her treated eye has continued to improve. Her daughters are amazed by the changes.
Steve's Struggles (02:43)
Steve is having trouble speaking. His wife Kelly must take over feeding their daughter dinner.
Ryan's Education (03:01)
Ryan tries to get back to school and realizes the impact of his missed time. His dad is angry that professors are not more understanding. Ryan's doctor hopes people with paralysis can become fully functional.
Ava's Education (02:05)
Ava has improved enough that her doctor has cleared her to go to school for the first time. Erica credits the progress equally to science and religion.
Future of Medicine (01:32)
Klein talks about the obligation doctors have to advance medicine, including with stem cells. He wants to ensure everyone has a chance at a remarkable change to their situation.
Cheryl's Health (02:14)
A year after her treatment, Cheryl's test results are normal. She talks about gratitude for the treatment.
Andrew's Health (03:32)
Six months after treatment, Andrew's T-cells have reached a level where he can stop taking HIV medication. He is the first person to reach that marker and his doctor is grateful for Andrew's participation.
Steve's Condition (03:47)
Steve has been getting worse and his tumor cells have spread, despite the stem cell treatment. His doctor suggests another brain surgery and then try the treatment again.
Patient Futures (06:30)
Rosie goes rock climbing with her family. Ryan is learning to drive with hand controls, which is making him feel normal again. Weissman is optimistic about the medical breakthroughs stem cells could create.
Credits: Ending Disease (01:08)
Credits: Ending Disease
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