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Families Are Taking Toddlers to China for Stem-Cell Treatments

by Barbara Anderson ,  McClatchy Newspapers | 2009-05-30

FRESNO, Calif. | Driven mostly by hope, two California families are planning to travel more than 6,000 miles to China for an experimental stem-cell treatment for their children.

Aleesha and Michael Klomp of Hanford, Calif., say they don't need guarantees - they're willing to take a chance so their son Gryphon Klomp, 2, might walk and grasp a spoon some day soon.

Fresno mother Jennifer Schmidt has the same faith about the benefits of umbilical-cord stem-cell therapy for 2-year-old daughter Brooke Schmidt-Jordan.

Both toddlers have cerebral palsy. Their families' situation highlights the real-world effects of the prolonged national debate over stem-cell research.

Research in the United States has been delayed amid concerns about using stem cells taken from embryos destroyed in the process. The families want to use stem cells from donor umbilical cord blood - but even that form of treatment has not progressed here as fast as it has overseas.

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