Colorado MS patient returning to Panama for more stem cell therapy

By Travis Khachatoorian
Created: Mon, 05 May 2014 10:21:00 MST
Updated: Mon, 05 May 2014 11:27:10 MST

CLIFTON, Colo. – Even with all the advances in medical sciences over the years, multiple sclerosis remains mysterious in both causes and symptoms. There is no known cure for the disease, but one Clifton resident isn’t waiting on the US government anymore and is planning to fly to Panama for a stem cell therapy.

Pam Claypoole was diagnosed with MS almost a decade ago and has slowly lost the feeling in her legs and right arm. She said since the FDA currently doesn’t approve any stem cell therapies for her disease, she’s planning a second trip to Panama in hopes to improve her condition.

Claypoole said she’s made one trip to the Stem Cell Institute in Panama more than a year ago and was amazed by the effects.

“I felt it made a big difference for me right away,” said Claypoole. “My walking was better, the feeling in my feet was better, I had more energy.”

She emphasized her treatment doesn’t involve unborn fetus stem cells but rather the stem cells taken from healthy birthed babies umbilical cords.

Her family is currently planning a live auction on May 14th at the Western Slope Cattleman’s Livestock Auction in Loma. The event starts at 6 pm, and they’re hoping to collect $20,000 dollars to fund Pam’s therapy in Central America.

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“I am riding my bike 10 miles a day, swimming, walking…all virtually PAIN FREE!” – Debra Deuble

We received this message from Debra Deuble yesterday. Debra gave us the ok to share it with everyone.

“I am a stem cell recipient from your clinic in Panama! I am grateful every day that I had this done. It has been over a year and I have not been on any medications and I feel great! I am riding my bike 10 miles a day, swimming, walking…all virtually PAIN FREE! I feel like I have had the fountain of youth! I was diagnosed with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was 37 when I had symptoms and 46 when diagnosed. Was on meds for 7 years and nothing helped. So glad I found your website in my search for a cure!!”

Neil Riordan PhD on stem cell expansion in stem cell therapy

Stem Cell Pioneers featured Dr. Riordan in its February installment of “Ask the Doctor”, a monthly segment that features stem cell scientists and doctors answering questions from readers about stem cell therapy.

Over the next several days, we will share these questions and Dr. Riordan’s answers with our readers.

Question: Are there some conditions such as neurological ones that respond better when the cells are greatly expanded? Is a high quantity essential for success or is that something that may be more of a selling point at some clinics? I have also seen this advertised for COPD and other conditions. It’s almost like the more cells the better, but I would like your opinion.

Dr. Riordan’s Answer: That really depends on the quality of the cells after expansion. If they are still robust, not senescent, and still have a good secretion profile, then the more the better may be useful up to a point. If you take a small pool of starter cells and expand them to exhaustion, then I don’t think you are going to have a very good product. The MSCs used in Panama are not expanded beyond passage 5—a point at which there is no senescence in the population and they have a robust cytokine secretion profile. In order to use only cells that meet our release criteria, cells from approximately one (1.2 to be exact) out of 10 donated umbilical cords are used.

Contrast that to cells from a patient’s own fat tissue that are expanded. Firstly, the starting cells may, and many times are not very robust—they secrete little or no beneficial cytokines or chemokines, and must be expanded to hilt in order to hit the cell number. Please see my answer to number 7 for more on this subject.

This brings up a slightly different, yet related topic. There has been a lot of talk at recent meetings about more defined endpoints for the cells being used, and I couldn’t agree more. There are MSCs from bone marrow, menstrual blood, fat tissue, umbilical cord (even different parts of the umbilical cord—around the blood vessels, from the Wharton’s jelly, from the subepithelium, from the cord blood itself—which are most likely contaminants from a bruised placenta rather than the blood), teeth, amniotic membrane, amniotic fluid just to name sources in the “we didn’t mess with mother nature” adult stem cell world. Add to that the infinite variables when you consider the age and physical condition of the donor, particularly when using adipose or bone marrow as a source material and we, as a field, could be saying almost anything by using the term, “mesenchymal stem cell.” I think it is time that there is standardization in the field beyond the current definition of expressing/not expressing certain surface markers and the ability to differentiate into fat, bone, and cartilage. That standardization could come from using endpoints such as “remaining proliferative capacity (the number of doublings achievable in culture from the treatment cell bank), the secretome, even if there is standardization of one or two molecules, such as HGF, or one of the prostaglandins.

In the future I believe the field will take it a step further by measuring, even by a surrogate marker, the potential effects of the cells on the target condition. In the case of autoimmunity the cells and their secretions could be tested for their capacity to modulate the immune system. In the case of inflammatory conditions, the cells and their secretions could be tested for the ability to control or block inflammation.

Neil Riordan PhD on Peri-lymphatic Stem Cell Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

Stem Cell Pioneers featured Dr. Riordan in its February installment of “Ask the Doctor”, a monthly segment that features stem cell scientists and doctors answering questions from readers about stem cell therapy.

Over the next several days, we will share these questions and Dr. Riordan’s answers with our readers.

Question: I have heard from patients that you are doing intralymphatic stem cell injections. I think there are a lot of IntraLymph studies on other things like allergies, but none on stem cells that I can find. What is the reasoning behind this new route of administration? If stem cells get stuck in the lungs and we worry about that, why inject them directly into the lymph system where they would go to the spleen?

Dr. Riordan’s Answer: The goal of our treatments umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells for patients with multiple sclerosis really has nothing to do with repairing the damaged or destroyed myelin in the lesions found in the brain and spinal cord. Because multiple sclerosis is first and foremost an autoimmune disease our goal is to address the immune dysfunction. At the root of the disease is a pool of immune cells called T-cells, which actively proliferate, cross the blood brain barrier, and attack myelin. Our primary goal then is to interfere with myelin-specific T-cell reproduction (something called “clonal expansion’). Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been shown in multiple studies to have the capacity to block this so-called clonal expansion of activated T cells. In a way MSCs immunosuppress, but unlike some drugs that suppress the immune system this specific blocking of activated T cells does not quash the entire immune system—the cells and their secretions only block the clonal expansion. Other drugs that suppress the immune system—for example hydrocortisone—have an effect on the entire immune system, which can increase the risk of the recipient to infectious diseases and even some cancers.

If it were the goal of the treatment to induce remyelination then certainly the route of delivery would be of greatest importance. You would want for the cells (or whatever proposed remyelination agent) to be as close to the lesions requiring the repair as possible. So I understand the rationale for the question.

In my opinion it will be difficult to successfully treat multiple sclerosis by remyelination alone because if you do not address the immune problem you will continue to lose myelin. Therefore, getting the cells to the lesions for myelin repair is not particularly important. Further support for this opinion is that there is very good evidence that the body has the innate ability to regenerate myelin without intervention. There are two good examples of this. The first example comes from a condition called Guillain–Barré syndrome. The syndrome is an autoimmune disease that results from an immune attack on the myelin of peripheral nerves. There is an ascending paralysis and the condition can be life threatening if the paralysis gets high enough to affect breathing. It is treatable and generally temporary. In 80% of the patients the underlying nerves are not irreparably damaged and there will be no long-term neurologic symptoms. 20% experience permanent nerve damage because the axons of the nerves are damaged. The good news is that the disease is temporary. The better news is that in the mild cases in which the axons were not destroyed, complete remyelination occurs—the body has the capacity to restore myelin.

The second example comes from a phenomenon seen with serial MRI images of the brains in people with MS. Fifty percent of these low intensity lesions known as “black holes” revert within one month of appearance, indicating that remyelination has occurred spontaneously.

Further support for the “treat the immune system and not the Central Nervous System” in MS comes from the work of several groups, including Northwestern University who are using chemotherapeutic “conditioning”, ie. wiping out the immune system (and the by-standing hematopoietic stem cells) followed by bone marrow reconstitution using previously harvested bone marrow stem cells. There are published results of many cases improving without anything having been done to address the myelin loss.
To the question of intra-lymphatic injections: There has been no work on “intra-lymphatic” injections. We are looking into peri-lymphatic (near the lymph nodes) injections of huMSCs for patients who are refractory to intravenous treatment.
Here is a little background on this subject: Dr. Arnold Caplan of Case Western Reserve, the scientist to first describe mesenchymal stem cells, was in Panama last year consulting with us. He also presented at a conference that we cosponsored. In one of my discussions with Dr. Caplan he casually mentioned that whenever they injected mesenchymal stem cells into the abdominal cavity of animals that did not have an active inflammatory process in there in the cavity the MSC’s would automatically go to the abdominal lymph chains. They were able to determine this because they use cells that were labeled with the florescent probe. I found this very interesting given that the 70-80% of the immune cells of your body reside in the abdominal cavity in and around the intestines.

The rationale for peri-lymphatic treatment is relatively simple. Firstly, the goal of therapy in autoimmune disease is to induce immune tolerance in the face of immune intolerance. The majority of the immune cells are found in the lymphatic (which includes the lamina propria) system of the gut. MCSs will, when lacking a more compelling inflammatory signal, migrate to the lymph nodes. Once in the lymph nodes they will migrate and interact with the immune cells (T-cells and T-cell priming dendritic cells). We know for a fact that MSCs interfere with dendritic cell priming of T-cells.

My book will be coming out in April. It will go into greater detail on this subject and many more. There are case histories as well as treatment protocols and rationale for each condition. Information about how to get the book “Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Nature’s Pharmacy” will be on www.Riordanbooks.com, as well as on www.amazon.com.

Hip replacement? Not after stem cell therapy!

Dear Jay, thank you for asking me to share my comments. Unfortunately, I am a very private person, I do not want my name, email or anything else posted on a public forum. You may post the email on your web site, with my name and email redacted (deleted at owner request). Then if a specific person wants to email me that is OK for you to give it to them. I am sorry I cannot be more accommodating. T.C. [redacted]

My over all results are very good, my knee does not hurt (95% less pain) I never wear a knee support any more. My back is also much better (85-90% less pain). My hip, I walk around my apt w/out my cane all the time. (90% less pain). Dr. D. [redacted] told me the main reason to get a hip replacement is due to pain &/or lack of mobility. He said since I experience neither, he would not recommend a hip replacement at this time. Given, that before I started stem cell therapy, I was told I should have had a hip replacement 2 years prior, this is amazing.

So. overall I am very glad I did the treatments.

Thanks, T.C. [redacted]

Stem cell therapy for COPD

Email from a COPD patient on Jan 8 to Dr. Paz. We have removed this patient’s name since she has not yet informed her doctors in the US about her treatments in Panama. She received multiple intravenous injections of human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells over the course of several days.

From: REDACTED
Subject: Re: Surveys
Date: January 8, 2014 at 7:48:49 AM EST
To: Jorge Paz Rodriguez

Dr. Paz,

I definitely feel there is an improvement from the 1st to the 2nd treatment. I feel much stronger and feel that I am able to function with a better quality of life. Prior to my 1st and 2nd treatments it was hard for me to keep up with the housekeeping, cooking, laundry and going out to the store for groceries was very hard for me to do. I have more energy to complete the task at hand now. I am able to walk longer distances without having to sit and rest and not getting as winded walking. Going up and down stairs is easier for me to do. I do feel I am making improvements with each treatment.

I have health insurance again and the Dr. here was wanting to do a physical with a chest X-ray to see the change in my COPD since my last X-ray a couple of years ago. I thought I could send you the X-ray on CD so you could compare the X-ray to what I originally sent you. I have not shared with the Dr.’s or anyone here about my treatments in Panama.

Please let me know about the Survey and if you think I should do the X-Ray and send it to you.

Thank you,

REDACTED

Sent from my iPad

Stem cell therapy for traumatic brain injury – Oswaldo Tapanes

Oswaldo Tapanes received multiple injections of human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells and his own bone marrow-derived stem cells over the course of a month both intrathecally (into the spinal fluid) and intravenously at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama. Here is what Mr. Tapanes had to day about his progress thus far:

My name is Oswaldo Tapanes. I have a traumatic brain injury; diagnosed in June 2005.

What symptoms did you have before stem cell therapy?

I couldn’t move my left arm. My vision was pretty bad. My speech is worse than it is now. I could only make sounds. My balance was very, very bad and that’s about it.

What improvements have you noticed since your stem cell treatments?

My speech is better. My eyesight is better. My arm coordination is better. My balance overall and better overall well-being.

How has this treatment changed your life?

It improved my quality of life, so much so that I’ve returned now for a second treatment.

What would you tell others who are considering this treatment?

I would say obviously, do your own research but from my point of view, it’s very safe. The medical science is explained. Everything is there on the web site if you look at it and do your homework. I wouldn’t hesitate coming. If I knew before, I would have came earlier.

Stem Cell Therapy for Relapsing-Remitting MS

Bonnie, who suffers from relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) received a combination of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells and adipose-derived cells administered daily over the course of 5 days.

Just wanted to send an update as I am really excited! I received my very first stem cells on 10/22/13, it has been less then a month and I am happy to report that I have tons more energy by balance is improving every day, I have no more foot drop and not even a healing I was looking for but I put my glasses on the other day only to find they made my vision blurry I didn’t need them, I am already saving for my next treatment! I can’t thank you all enough as I feel like I have a future with my 5 small children now, if you ever need someone to talk to future patients I would be happy to scream my praises! Looking forward to more and more improvement!

Sincerely,
Bonnie Barrington

For more information about MS clinical investigations at the Stem Cell Insitute: Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

Professor Arnold Caplan discusses mesenchymal stem cell therapy for multiple sclerosis

Professor Caplan is “The father of the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)”. In this clip, he describes a mouse experiment using human MSCs in a mouse model of MS. The experiment shows that it’s possible to place human cells in mice that have normal immune systems. He continues to discuss the astounding results.

Volume two of stem cell research benefit album features Thee Oh Sees, Cave Singers, Dr. Dog members and more

Stem cell therapy recipient Ryan Benton's follow-up album, Coming Together for a Cure

Stem cell therapy recipient Ryan Benton’s follow-up album, Coming Together for a Cure

Now, a second volume is being released with a whole new line up, which includes Thee Oh Sees, Cave Singers, and members of Dr. Dog (via bands Golden Boots and Springs). Coming Together For A Cure, Vol. 2, which will be released 29 October, will also feature Benton’s band Sunshine Dreamers.

See the full track listing below, as well as a documentary about Benton’s triumphant recovery, against all odds, and how he has to travel outside of the U.S., where stem cell treatment is banned, to acquire his treatment.

Coming Together For A Cure, Vol. 2 Tracklist
01. Miracle Days – “Miracle Days”
02. Springs – “Waste My Time”
03. Thee Oh Sees – “The Factory Reacts”
04. The Wonder Revolution – “Cloud Wonder Sky”
05. Music Wrong – “Clyde”
06. Student Film – “Facts and Values”
07. Shine Brothers – “So Many People”
08. Elf Power – “1494″
09. Cave Singers – “Ohio Nights”
10. Golden Boots – “Be My Champ”
11. Gentle Ghost – “Oblivion Tide”
12. Sleeping in the Aviary – “Long Gone”
13. Sunshine Dreamers – “Empty Nest”
14. Bellafonte – “Sea of Trees”
15. Beau Jennings & the Tigers – “Sweet Action”