In part 4, Prof. Caplan talks about isolating mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow using specialized; calf serum choosing different assays to prove multipotency – osteogenesis, chondrogenesis, adipogenesis; point of care with autologous bone marrow in orthopedic surgery; tissue engineering bone with lineage restricted MSCs; banking bone discarded bone marrow from orthopedic surgeries for future use;
VIDEO – The Science of Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine – Arnold Caplan PhD (Part 4)
King Goff received three applications of his own adipose tissue-derived stem cells over the course of 3 days for a knee injury and autoimmune issues at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama. In this video, Mr. Goff discusses conventional treatments he received before stem cells, pre-treatment symptoms, post-treatment improvements, the doctors and staff, and the clinic.
“My immune system is the thing that is noticeably better. My allergies have corrected. The sinusitis circumstances that I was having problems with have corrected, in part but not completely. My knees, I’m up to being able to be on fairly distant walks of one and a half to two miles as part of my exercise program without the pain that I experienced prior to the [stem cell] treatment. Those are the most significant gains that I can say; just a lack of pain and increased mobility.” – King Goff
A short film about three spinal cord injury patients who share their stories of tragedy, hope and recovery following stem cell treatments for spinal cord injury at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama City, Panama. See them demonstrate their improvements by lifting themselves up, standing and even walking after stem cell therapy.
Spinal cord injury patient, Chris Niles, discusses his improvements after undergoing stem cell therapy at the the Stem Cell Institute in Panama City, Panama. Chris now has sensation down to about a T10 level and has regained movement in his feet.
Theo Kostoulas is a T-6 complete spinal cord injury patient. He received a course of 16 stem cell therapy injections using umbilical cord-derived stem cells and his own bone marrow-derived stem cells. The cells were injected both intravenously and intrathecally (into the spinal fluid). During his stay in Panama and as part of his treatment protocol, Theo went to 19 physical therapy sessions over the course of month.
“I can definitely say that after the second injection, I immediately actually started getting some leg sensation and touch back from below my injury level. It was me lying in bed while my mother was putting my sock on my feet. I was actually able to feel that and it was pretty amazing because I haven’t had and feeling or sensation at all from my injury level of T-6. Now, more towards the end here, I have actually been able to have bladder sensation. I am a person that usually cath’ed myself every four hours but now because I do have this sensation coming back, I tend to wait until I have the need to have to go. So it can be anywhere from six to seven hours. If I need to drink a lot of water before coming to treatment, I know ahead of time whether I need to cath myself sooner or not.”
April 17, 2013
I watched my father deteriorate through the years progressing from walking with a cane, spring assist in his shoes to lift the toe, to hand crutches, his inability to control his bladder and bowels, to being permanently bound to a wheel chair by 1979. Building all sorts of ramps, elevators and installing van lifts so that he could be able to get around by himself. He is still alive and wearing out electric wheel chairs to this day.
I had a few problems with my eyes in 1981, which they tested me for MS knowing my father’s history, but everything at that time came up negative (no MRIs used at that time). I then had a problems with my eyes & speech (blurry & slurring – which dissipated that day) in the summer of 2003, which the doctors preliminary diagnosis was a mild stroke, but then the test began. The outcome came on November 10th, 2003 from my neurologists – you have MS. This just about devastated me having watched the progression (walking to not walking, loss of bowel & bladder control, and loss of mobility & arms, etc.).
Well, they started me on Betaseron, and then the fun began. The first nine (9) months on Betaseron was a roller-coaster of emotions, periods of not having any concentration, and not being able to remember how to do little things that I’ve done for twenty some-odd years. Thank “GOD” for my loving wife (Kim) for getting me through this time..
After making it through the first nine months, things settled, but the MS progressed. Legs burning, legs jerking, walking becoming difficult, hands trembling, lots of floaters in my eyes and twitching. Continued my appointments with my neurologists and as things progressed, more meds prescribed.
In April of 2009, they conducted more test including an Evoke Potential (hooked me up to electrodes and actually got me to levitate off of a table when the zapped me) and more MRIs, etc. These test resulted in a diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis in conjunction with the MS. More meds prescribed.
In the fall of 2011, walking was very difficult, writing was a joke (if someone other than myself was reading it), having lots of bladder and bowel issues (everything seemed to be leaking) and if I had to travel with my job, I had be chauffeured, as I couldn’t make the trips by myself. Hot weather made me wilt like a cut flower out of water. With all of this going on with my body, the neurologists ordered up another batch of test and then concluded that Betaseron had out lived its effectiveness and I was changed to Copaxon.
After a month of Copaxon, I was having whelps and redness appear at the injections site, which I called the folks at Copaxon and my neurologists and explained what was happening. Both told me it just took a little while for my body to adjust and they would go away. Another month passed and I was doing the injections in my thigh, when the swelling and inflammation became so bad I couldn’t hardly put on my jeans and could hardly walk, so I marched down to my neurologists and sat in her office until she could see me. She took one look at the sites and said that I was allergic to Copaxon, and changed the meds to Avonex – oh joy. I had to undergo 21 days of steroid treatment prior to beginning Avonex.
It’s now February of 2012 and things are not getting any noticeably better, or slowing down, and I’m getting fed up and not looking forward to what I have seen with my father.. I keep taking the meds and start investigating my options.
A friend had mention to my wife about stem cell therapy that they had heard about down in Costa Rica. We researched it and found it in Panama, started checking it out and we liked what we read..
I submitted the initial applications in late March and received approval in April (just 7 days later). Just so happened that The Stem Cell Institute – Panama was having a seminar that month in Gilbert, AZ, so we signed up and flew to Phoenix (we wanted a little more comfort factor). We were very impressed & actually was able to talk with the doctors (Neil Riordan and Dr. Paz Rodriguez) and go over everything (also met one person that had been through the treatment that had a spinal cord injury, one that has MS and both where doing pretty good, as their stories were documented on film and a part of the presentation) .
The seminar was very good and we were sold on the fact that we had made the right decision. .
After arriving back home, we submitted for a treatment to get in the queue’ (which we were told would take as long as 5 months to find an opening), and received notification that it would be on May 14th, 2012, so we confirmed the reservations and began preparing for our trip.
At this time I had quit smoking and the current list of drugs was as follows:
- Amantadine: 100mg (2 tablets in AM)
- Effexor: 75mg (1 tablet daily)
- Zanaflex: 4mg (1/2 in AM & 1 at night)
- Plavix: 75mg (once daily)
- Crestor: 5mg (1 tablet at night)
- Mestinon: 60mg (1 tablet in 4 times daily)
- Mirapex: 0.125 mg (30 minutes before bedtime)
- Ampyra :10mg (1 tablet in am & 1 tablet in PM
- Avonex: 30mcg injection (once a week)
A week prior to our trip to Panama I had a regularly schedule appointment with my neurologists and at the end of the office visit I informed her of my intentions of going to Panama. I did not receive any negative response, she just want to make sure of the procedure that was going to be conducted and where the stem cells were coming from. She also relayed that she was an investigator for stem cell research for the State of Texas.
Here’s a log of the adventure to Panama. Anxiety is high
Flew to Panama from Amarillo. Left Amarillo at 9:30AM & arrived in Panama at 7:30PM (had a little trouble with my legs from Houston to Panama – spasms). We were met by Stem Cell Institute (SCI) representative at the airport & walked though customs, like you have never seen. Escorted through and express line at customs, escorted us to a lounge and then they went to go retrieve our luggage. SCI had transportation set up from the airport to your hotel, via private courier.
Picked up at the hotel by SCI and taken to the SCI office & met with 3 doctors and had blood taken (11 vials). All the doctors were great (Dr. Rodriguez, Dr, Hernandez and Dr. Bowen) and explained everything in great detail. Discussed the surgery (mini-liposuction the next morning). The stem cells were harvested from my own body – no umbilical cord cells utilized. SCI driver took us back to the hotel.
Picked up by SCI and taken to the hospital @ 8:00AM. A little anxious about the facilities that we were going to, but when we drove up the signage on the building read “Hospital Punta Pacifica, affiliated with John Hopkins Medicine International”.- no more worries. I was met at the door by Dr. Bowen (from Stem Cell), admitted to hospital and surgery @ 10:00am, out of surgery recovery by 12:15pm, given pain pills & antibiotics, Dr. Bowen was in surgery & with me throughout the procedure. The plastic surgeon that performed the procedure was from the States. SCI driver takes us back to the hotel. Took only one pain pill for the entire time. Have to wear a girdle (Velcro & elastic) for twenty-one days.
SCI picks us up at 9:30AM for 10:00am appointment for physical therapy. Stretching exercises and a small work out. Driver takes us back to hotel.
Same as yesterday
Same as yesterday.
Took a tour to the rainforest & the lake on the top of the canal. Saw, sloths, monkeys, butterflies coatis, toucan & crocodiles (all in the wild) – (gone 6 hours)
Took a tour to the waterfall and zoo. (gone 7 hours)
5/21 (Monday): SCI picks us up at 9:30AM for 10:00am appointment for physical therapy. Last day of physical therapy. Diver takes us back to hotel. Kim found a casino at the Sheraton Inn & we went for a little while.
Took a tour through the Panama Canal Locks & up to the lake. We met a couple of others folks at the motel that evening that were down from the States to have the treatment. One gentleman had come down for his second set of treatments and was expounding as to how great his progress had been, and was hoping that with this set that he could be able to walk without a cane. His first set of treatments was about eight months prior. Ok, now I’m getting very anxious.
SCI picks us up at 9:30AM for 10:00am appointment to receive 1st infusion of stem cells. Received 20cc which took about 15 minutes, once I got back to the examination room. . Driver took me back to the hotel – back before 10:30AM. After lunch, Kim asked if I was feeling any effect from the first treatment and I barked back that it takes months for the effects to take place (sorry that I made that comment). Kim had inquired and found another casino, so we took a trip to the Wyndum Casino. After about 2 hours (at about 8:00PM) I noticed that I wasn’t limping, or staggering, dragging my foot, or any of that other good stuff – I went to find Kim. Found Kim & asked her what she thought about my walking and she was really surprised.
SCI picks us up at 10:15AM for 10:30am appointment to receive 2nd infusion of stem cells. Told the Dr. (Randy Bowen) about my walking and he was very surprised. I also relayed that the floaties that I have had in my eyes are diminishing, the tingling in my hands is diminishing & my feet don’t feel like they are on fire, bladder control is doing better. Driver took me back to the hotel. Had lunch and then started just messing around and found that I could balance on one leg (either leg) with my hands in my pockets (been quite a while since I was able to balance like that, even without my hands in my pockets) Went to the casino for a little while.
SCI picks us up at 9:30AM for 10:00am appointment to receive 3rd infusion of stem cells from the Dr. (Hernandez) & he said that he had heard from Dr. Bowen about my results, so I showed him the balance act which he was very impressed with. Both He & Dr. Bowen stated that I was fortunate to have results so quickly, but should continue receiving more results up to at least 6 months. They asked that I keep them apprised of any and all progress. Received pack of documentation covering everything that was done by SCI (complete blood analysis & certification of 6.6*E7 >75% viable stem cells). They also apprised me that they have retained 50% of the stem cells harvested for utilization at a future date – which is only a one week trip. Dr. Hernandez said that I could start decreasing my medications gradually. (Driver took me back to the hotel. Off we go to the Wynndum Casino for a couple of hours. Walking is getting better.
Tired today, slept until 11:45AM, then went to grab lunch, laid back down at 1:30PM and slept until 4:30PM. Went and grabbed a few beers at the hotels bar. I haven’t been able to walk, or see like this in 6 years.
SCI Driver pick us up at 7:00AM and assisted through the line at the airport. Arrived back in Amarillo at 8:00PM. Had a little trouble with my legs (Spasms) from Houston to Amarillo, but nothing like it had been for the past 5 years.
Went to the shop & office – didn’t do much. Had supper with our daughters and they couldn’t believe how I was walking. My wife insisted that I show them the balancing act. Girdle & levis, don’t go together very well.
The facilities and doctors are really great. Very professional, very clean, very informative and they help you with anything that you need.
With the results that I was seeing in the first week, I stopped taking a lot of my meds.
On June 16th we took a trip and drove to Ft. Smith, AR (444 miles) to attend a barbeque cook for my friends. Amazingly I had no spasms or leg jerks on the trip over or back, and I tolerated the heat exceedingly well. The only meds that I was still taking at this juncture was Zanaflex and Effexor.
In mid-July I was sleeping like a rock and awakening maybe just once an evening. No more one hour sleeps and then run to the bathroom – no more leg jerks – no more spasms. I had also traveled to one my friends ranch and was out in +97° weather and had no problems.
The first part of August, Kim had purchased a guided fly fishing float trip in Oregon. Ok, now I’m a little skeptical, but here I go. We fished for five days out of boats, floating down the rivers with fly rods. You had to stand up in the boats that were moving with the currents and going through rough water. Amazingly, I never lost my balance. Life is good. Completely off of ALL meds.
After arriving back from Oregon, I had a scheduled appointment with my neurologist. I informed her that I was totally off all of my meds, which she raised an eyebrow upon, then she ran me through the paces for balance, strength, eyes, and walking. She seemed impressed but didn’t say a whole lot, but what she said I really loved. I was discharged from all follow-ups and associated test until such time as I felt that I needed to see her.
The Stem Cell Institute still calls periodically (and sends questionnaires) to check on my conditions and inquire if I need anything additional, which is great. I have very few doctors, or clinics, that have ever called to check on me.
At the writing of this, I am one month from my one year anniversary of the treatment and I cannot express what a change in life it has been. I’m no longer in pain. I’m not irritable. I’m happy. I can walk. I don’t have to worry where the restrooms are located. I can jog (if I wanted too). I can work outside in the summer. My family and friends are astonished with my progress. It is like you rolled the life clock back twenty years.
If this procedure was available fifteen years ago, my father would not have had a say. I would have loaded him on a plane and he would have gone to Panama,
I strongly recommend this procedure and The Stem Cell Institute. They and their staff treat you like a king and you become part of their family. It is life changing Thank “GOD” for the pioneers in medicine.
Anyone reading this that would like to discuss my progress, or any of the above, may feel free to contact me at (Number available upon request to all approved applicants).
Kelley R. Wilson.
Arminda Bourin has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since 2003. She underwent adult stem cell therapy at the Stem Cell Institute in February 2012 because her swollen, painful ankles made it very difficult for her to walk. This interview takes place approximately one year after treatment.
Before coming to Panama, Ms. Bourin tried everything from anti-inflammatory and auto-immune medication to homeopathy and finally surgery on her left ankle, “Which I regret because if I had waited [until after the stem cell therapy], it would not have been necessary. The other foot with the same symptoms is now better without any surgery. I think it was the stem cells.”
Ms. Bourin learned about the Stem Cell Institute from her husband’s cousin, Judi Lecoq. Judy received treatment for multiple sclerosis and, “…told us how wonderful the treatment was and that she was so much better.”
Regarding the doctors, staff and clinic, “They are wonderful. Everybody has been so kind.”
Upon being asked, “Has this treatment changed your life?” Ms. Bourin responded, “Well, yes. I was not walking too much. I needed a wheelchair. It was painful anyway. So to be able to go shopping, that’s a miracle!”
Sarah Washington and her daughter Mary. Mary is 2 years old and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 4 months old. She was first treated at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama using human umbilical cord-derived stem cells. Mary received these stem cells intravenously over the course of 4 days. Her first treatment was in September of 2012. This interview was recorded in March 2013 at the clinic while she was there for a second round of treatments.
What kind of improvements have you noticed?
Overall, in general, what we noticed was, her upper body, she’s very stiff. She’s spastic in her legs and her arms and she has low tone in her trunk. In her upper body, we noticed a pretty significant improvement. Her range of motion, she couldn’t lift her arms over her before and now she can do that on both sides easily. And her hands, she was in tight little fists most of the time, whereas now if she is in a fist it’s very loose. But most of the time she kind of has her hands relaxed. That was a big improvement for us; small but significant for our family.
Her vision has improved, not necessarily distance but as far as like what I think as seeing details. So she would be able to tell the difference between you and me if we didn’t say anything. Whereas before, I don’t think she could do that. She would rely on smell and hearing more than her vision. Now she uses her vision a lot more. So that’s been an improvement that we’ve seen.
She is more involved in the world around her. [She] wants to be more involved in the world around her so that’s good. She has definitely, she doesn’t say, “mama, dada, ba, ba” yet but she definitely is making more vocalizations, making more sounds and trying to experiment with her voice, which is a positive thing.
She is trying different ways of communicating versus just screaming which is what she did before because that is all she knew how to do. And now, she is kind of fussing or sometimes she’ll just kind of like, yell and stop and wait for me to answer her instead of just going from “zero” to “scream”. So her communication has improved as well.
One thing that we were not expecting that we were pleased about is an improvement in her seizures. That wasn’t even something that we had even, I don’t know. I guess it just didn’t occur to us that maybe this would be helpful with that but before we came the first time in September she had been sick and we actually had to delay our trip twice because she had bronchialitis. She was just having a really hard time. And she was having a lot of seizures. We had to add a new seizure medicine to try to get them under control and she was having 6 or 7 short myotonic jerks every day. The first time we were here, by about Thursday, which was like day three of treatment, of stem cells we noticed that she hadn’t had a seizure that day. Whereas before, she was having 6 or 7 a day. And so, that was one thing. It was surprising but it was a nice surprise that those have improved since we’ve been here. She will still have breakthrough seizures every now and then when she’s sick, teething but she, we haven’t gone back to that, where she was having them on a regular basis. So that’s good. That’s been a good improvement.
Since we’ve been here this time, I haven’t really seen anything where I could say, “Oh, I think that’s the stem cells.” yet but I do know that last time it did take a couple of weeks for us to notice, you know, or to really pinpoint and say, “Yes, we think that is the stem cells. There’s no way she could have done that before.” So, and all of our therapists agree that her range of motion and her upper body for sure, and her vision would not have been the way they were without coming here.
Lillian Rowland is a 79 year-old [former] heart failure patient from Ohio. She was diagnosed with heart failure in March 2012. Her left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) at that time was measured at 25%. Normal LVEF range is 55% – 70%.
Lillian’s cardiologist recommended an implantable defibrillator. At the time, she did not want to go through the implantation procedure so she declined. Lillian decided to go to the Stem Cell Institute (SCI) in Panama for human umbilical cord-derived stem cell treatments after hearing about it from her son Jay Lenner who works for SCI as its Public Relations Manager.
Below is a brief interview with Lillian in March 2013. Today, her heart is back into normal range (LVEF = 55%) and her cardiologist told her that she no longer needs an implantable defibrillator.
What was your diagnosis?
I was diagnosed with heart failure.
When were you diagnosed?
I was diagnosed in March 2012.
What symptoms did you have?
I couldn’t breathe at night. I was sleeping and I had to get up. I was gasping for breath.
Why did you choose the Stem Cell Institute?
Because my son works in stem cells and after I got out of the hospital in Arizona he wanted to take me down to have stem cells to see if it could help repair the damage to my heart.
How where the doctors at the clinic?
The doctors were very nice and there’s really nothing to it. It’s just an injection that goes into [a catheter placed into a vein inside] your hand. It’s not like they are operating on you or anything.
How was the clinic?
The clinic is very clean and sterile and the people are very nice.
Do you have any symptoms now?
It’s been a year since I had the stem cells and I am symptom free.
I had an echocardiogram a year after the stem cells and when they read it my ejection fraction was 55%. They wanted to put a defibrillator in me and the heart doctor came up and said, there’s no reason to put one in now because my heart was OK.
Would you recommend that other heart failure patients go to Panama for treatment?
Yes I would.
Do you think this changed your life?
Yes. I don’t have to worry about having a heart problem!
The umbilical cord stem cells we use are recovered from donated umbilical cords following normal, healthy births. Before they are approved for use in treatments, all umbilical cord-derived stem cell samples are screened for viruses and bacteria to International Blood Bank standards.
Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Disease – Jim Parker Attorney at Law and former Texas State Legislature Member
Jim was kind enough to answer some questions about his condition before and after treatment. He also discusses his trip to Panama, the clinic and its staff.
What is your diagnosis and when were you diagnosed?
Exactly what my diagnosis was I cannot say in medical terms. Factually speaking, I had five (5) by-passes in 1995 (or thereabouts) and then had nine (9) stents added over the next 13 or 14 years. I began to experience severe angina in January and February of 2011 and was hospitalized in February with a series of heart attacks. I had consulted my cardiologist in Abilene and had also gone to a cardiologist in Dallas who was supposed to be really good. They both told me that there was simply nothing else I could do. When I was released from the local hospital in early March of 2011, my family doctor gave me a bottle of morphine and a bottle of nitroglycerine and basically told me to make it as well as I could for as long as I could.
Panama did not exactly change my life. It literally gave my life back to me.
We had heard about the Panama operation (Stem Cell Institute) from local people who had gone for various reasons. Every one of them seemed well-pleased with the results they were able to get. After release from the local hospital in early March of 2011, I sent my medical records to Panama and arranged an appointment in mid-March. I traveled to Panama in a wheel chair because I was not able to walk in the airport.
Upon arrival in Panama the first day was spent drawing my blood for blood tests. The next 7 days the (umbilical cord-derived) stem cells were infused back into my body.
I found the staff to be very helpful and apparently knowledgeable. Our needs outside the clinic were well taken care of and we were very satisfied with our experience.
I steadily improved after Panama to the point where I have now resumed a normal life (at as normal as a 68 year-old guy can expect) and I am back at work. I have not had to use a nitroglycerine pill in over a year and, so far as I can tell, I have no immediate heart problems and but for the damage suffered from my earlier episodes, my heart would be in good shape. My longtime cardiologist will still see me but he believes Panama was some sort of voodoo and I have just been lucky. I continue to take a mild blood pressure medication and I do still take blood thinner. However, about 6 months after Panama my blood pressure got so low they had to cut down the strength of the medication.
What symptoms did you have before you cam for treatment?
Prior to Panama I had a series of heart attacks over a number of years and was eating nitroglycerine tablets like M&Ms.
Which treatments did you try in the U.S. first, and when did you know that you needed to find help outside of the country?
I tried every treatment available in the US of A. Had every test know to man. I mean 5 by-passes and 9 stents many not be a record but it has to be well beyond average.
Why did you choose The Stem Cell Institute in Panama for stem cell treatment?
I chose the Stem Cell Institute in Panama because several local folks had gone there and they were pleased with the results. And, I really had no place to go but the cemetery.
How were the doctors at the clinic? How were the facilities?
The only doctor I recall seeing was Dr. Paz. The facilities were at least on par with what you would find in the US and the staff was more solicitous and helpful than you would find in the US.
How are your symptoms now? How have they improved?
I have no symptoms now. (Knock on wood). I have some breathing issues but I am told that is COPD and it is not really all that bad. I could live another 100 years feeling as good as I do now.
Have you reduced or eliminated any of the medications you were taking before stem cell therapy?
I have cut way back on medication I was using prior to Panama and feel I could probably cut back some more; however, I have to give the local MD’s something to work on. And, by the way, I go to the doctor as little as possible now. Maybe twice a year at most.
How soon did you start seeing/noticing a difference? How was your overall experience?
I began to notice a difference (maybe it was just anticipation) about 6 to 8 weeks after returning from Panama. It has gotten better and better since then. Since I can move around, I have lost over 40 pounds and now am at 6 feet tall and 215 pounds, down from over 250 pounds.
How has this changed your life?
Panama did not exactly change my life. It literally gave my life back to me. I have been married to the same woman for over 50 years and we were able to become intimate again. I am out and about every day and pretty much do what I want to do and go where I want to go.
Many people should know about this option. There are people dying here in the land of the free and the home of the brave each day that are in better shape than I was when I went to Panama.
And, by the way, I am not subject to flights of fancy and accepting things a thinking person might not accept. I hold a doctor of jurisprudence degree and have been a criminal defense attorney all my adult life. I am about as cynical and skeptical as you will find but I am a believer in your process.