Archives for July 25, 2007

Dilated Cardiomyopathy Treated Using New Adult Stem Cell Treatment

The condition of “heart muscle disease” is often referred to as cardiomyopathy. Often leading to heart failure or sudden death, it occurs in both women and men. Cardiomyopathy is also a term describing a series of disorders causing primary heart muscle dysfunction. There is no known cure for this condition, of which the most common form causes 10,000 deaths each year in the United States.

Now adult stem cells may be the treatment answer for this condition. A Bangkok, Thailand, based company claims to have developed a treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy. Patients are typically characterized by low energy, pain, restricted activity, brevity, and cost. But patients can travel to Bangkok to for stem cell treatment and possibly leave the aforementioned symptoms behind.

A Michigan man named Jason is perhaps the clinics biggest success.

By the time Jason was 15, he had a pacemaker. By 21 he was diagnosed as having cardiomyopathy and by 25 he had a defibrillator in place and an ejection fraction of just 8-10 percent. Jason was born with an atrial septal defect. Now 34, Jason calls himself lucky. Adult stem cell therapy freed him from the domination and restrictions of heart failure. He says he feels so much better that if he started training, he thinks he could do a triathlon.

As he was removed from a heart transplant list, his mother searched for help. As he went back and forth to specialists having his medications reviewed, since that is all he was left with. He constantly felt depressed and tired since some of the medications had unpleasant side-effects. Then his mother found the stem cell clinic. After being examined by Dr. Patel from the University of Pittsburgh, he was on his way to Bangkok. Dr. Patel felt that adult stem cells could help Jason.

A small amount of blood was withdrawn from Jason once he arrived in Bangkok. Stem cells were harvested from the blood and injected directly into his heart muscle at the Bangkok Heart Hospital. Jason knew his life was changing only a short month later.

“My heart was beating better, more rhythmically, and I had more energy,” he said. “After six months I was up and flying, feeling 100 percent different. I could mow the lawns, take walks, ride a bike with my kids, lift weights — do whatever I liked,” he said. “I’m always on the go with our fifth child on the way and always busy as a full-time parent.”

Jason is very happy to spend time advising other cardiomyopathy sufferers of the power of positive thinking and he has always enjoyed a huge level of support from his family and friends.

“Always try to be positive,” he counsels. “There is hope. Take care of your diet and help get the word out that adult stem cell therapy is worth getting done. It’s nothing like what you would have thought.”

Jason talks to other patients about his treatment, which is not available in the United States, and explains what it is like to fly to Thailand and receive stem cell injections.

Continuing research is revealing encouraging clinical outcomes for adult stem cell use for the treatment of many different conditions. Soon, more patients will be aware of the option to travel abroad to Thailand as well as other countries for treatment. Those patients will know that skilled doctors in world-class hospitals can perform this procedure which is straightforward and effective; and that they cannot be harmed by a therapy that uses their own adult stem cells.