Legendary Texas Football Coach and Stem Cell Recipient Sam Harrell Returns to Coaching

Sam Harrell Stem Cell Patient for MS

Coach Sam Harrell at Ennis High School

In 2010, the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis forced Sam Harrell to retire from his position as Head Football Coach at Ennis High School. But after receiving 3 courses of stem cell therapy at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama, Sam is returing to the gridiron once again.

Brownwood Lion Head Coach, Bob Shipley announced that Harrell will be joining the team as quarterback coach.

Sam coached all three of his sons at Ennis High School, most notably his son Graham Harrell. Graham was a standout quarterback at Texas Tech and now plays for the Green Bay Packers.

During his career at Ennis, Harrell pioneered the spread offense that led the team to three Texas state championships.

“I told the kids this morning,” said Coach Shipley when asked about how he addressed the team, “And I didn’t have to explain who Sam Harrell was, they knew. And they just erupted in applause and they were just looking at each other with their jaws dropped open, like they couldn’t believe that Coach Harrell was going to come and be apart of our staff.”

“Sam just really liked the thought of coming and not being the head coach and not being the offensive coordinator, but just coaching the quarterbacks, which is really what his passion is.”

The Stem Cell Institute was founded in 2005 by Neil Riordan PhD and has treated over 1,500 patients to-date. Find out more about stem cell therapy for MS at www.cellmedicine.com

Great Day in Ft. Worth for Stem Cell Team

Stem cell patients and MS walk in Fort Worth

Stem Cell Institute patients participate in MS Walk 2012

Saturday, March 31 was the annual MS Walk in Ft Worth. This year, thanks to the Stem Cell Institute and some of the area stem cell patients, several of us MS sufferers and stem cell patients met for the Walk. Here’s a picture of several of us who have been to Panama, or Costa Rica, for treatments – (from L – R) Richard, Carolyn, Shelley, Carla, Judi, Holly, and me.

We wanted to give the Stem Cell Institute a presence in that sea of MS victims and caregivers. I wish all of them knew that many of us in those blue t-shirts were there walking, actually completing the whole mile, even though we were once unable to do such. I wanted to grab that microphone that the organizers were using and tell all of them “There is HOPE – it doesn’t have to be what you hear from your doctors so often. It can be more than ‘Let’s keep taking this medication so you might get worse at a slower rate’ ”

I personally never heard about the possibility of actually improving when I went to good doctors here in the US – but I chose to try the Stem Cell treatment in Panama, and I walked that mile on Saturday! A year ago, six months ago, I couldn’t have done that – but after my third trip to Panama in September, my walking, my balance, and my stamina all improved dramatically. And many of those in our group on Saturday have a similar story; some results more dramatic than others, but most all of us have seen and felt the changes that give us that Hope that all of those sufferers at the Walk are looking for.

THANKS STEM CELL INSTITUTE!

Sam Harrell
Sam in Panama

Autologous mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: an open-label phase 2a proof-of-concept study

Connick P, Kolappan M, Crawley C, Webber DJ, Patani R, Michell AW, Du MQ, Luan SL, Altmann DR, Thompson AJ, Compston A, Scott MA, Miller DH, Chandran S.

Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
More than half of patients with multiple sclerosis have progressive disease characterised by accumulating disability. The absence of treatments for progressive multiple sclerosis represents a major unmet clinical need. On the basis of evidence that mesenchymal stem cells have a beneficial effect in acute and chronic animal models of multiple sclerosis, we aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of these cells as a potential neuroprotective treatment for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

METHODS:
Patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis involving the visual pathways (expanded disability status score 5·5-6·5) were recruited from the East Anglia and north London regions of the UK. Participants received intravenous infusion of autologous bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in this open-label study. Our primary objective was to assess feasibility and safety; we compared adverse events from up to 20 months before treatment until up to 10 months after the infusion. As a secondary objective, we chose efficacy outcomes to assess the anterior visual pathway as a model of wider disease. Masked endpoint analyses was used for electrophysiological and selected imaging outcomes. We used piecewise linear mixed models to assess the change in gradients over time at the point of intervention. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00395200.

FINDINGS:
We isolated, expanded, characterised, and administered mesenchymal stem cells in ten patients. The mean dose was 1·6×10(6) cells per kg bodyweight (range 1·1-2·0). One patient developed a transient rash shortly after treatment; two patients had self-limiting bacterial infections 3-4 weeks after treatment. We did not identify any serious adverse events. We noted improvement after treatment in visual acuity (difference in monthly rates of change -0·02 logMAR units, 95% CI -0·03 to -0·01; p=0·003) and visual evoked response latency (-1·33 ms, -2·44 to -0·21; p=0·020), with an increase in optic nerve area (difference in monthly rates of change 0·13 mm(2), 0·04 to 0·22; p=0·006). We did not identify any significant effects on colour vision, visual fields, macular volume, retinal nerve fibre layer thickness, or optic nerve magnetisation transfer ratio.

INTERPRETATION:
Autologous mesenchymal stem cells were safely given to patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis in our study. The evidence of structural, functional, and physiological improvement after treatment in some visual endpoints is suggestive of neuroprotection.

FUNDING:
Medical Research Council, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Evelyn Trust, NHS National Institute for Health Research, Cambridge and UCLH Biomedical Research Centres, Wellcome Trust, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation, and Sir David and Isobel Walker Trust.

Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis: Progress Update from Sam Harrell

From Sam Harrell’s blog: Sam In Panama

TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2012

2012 Update

Coach Sam Harrell

Well, I realize there may not be many readers of my Panama blog any longer, but just in case someone does return, I wanted to post an important update.

In March 2011 when I returned from my second trip to Panama (my last blog), I soon had a MS relapse. It was the biggest setback I had experienced since my diagnosis. I spent a week in the hospital in Dallas and had numbness from my toes to my chest. When I got home, I was better – the steroids had made the numbness go down to just my lower legs, but I was practically home bound – used a walker or cane most of the time and spent most hours sitting in a chair at home – feeling like this was going to be my lifestyle for the rest of my days!

Even after going to physical therapy and doing everything I was supposed to be doing, my progress was minimal. I was fitted with a brace for my left leg to help the foot drop that was causing me to stumble. My mobility was very limited and I needed help getting most anywhere. I could not hold my new grandson unless I was sitting down, and I couldn’t walk across the room without thinking about each move.

In September of 2011 I went back to Panama for a short visit to get what Dr. Paz called a “little booster.” My mom went with me for this third trip – we stayed in the hotel by the MultiPlaza mall and had a good time since it was mom’s first trip to Panama. But the best news was what happened once we returned.

I had begun a daily log of my condition weeks before I went to Panama – mainly measuring and logging my walking and mobility – here are the exact numbers leading up to my trip and once I got back – these numbers are coming straight from my calendar log – (on a scale of 1 – 10 – how well am I’m getting around):
5,4,5,4,5,5,5,5,5+,5,(panama), 5,5+,5+,6,6,6,
7,8,6,7,7,8,7,8,8,6,6,6,7,8,7,7,8,8,8,8,8,8,7,7,7,7,8,8,8,7(end of Oct)
8,8,8,8,8,8,8+,8,9,9,8,8,7,8,7+,8,8+,8+,8+,8,7,7,8+,8,8,7+,7,7,7,7+(Nov)
7+,8+8,7+,7+,7,7+,7+,8,8,7+,8,8,7+,7,7+,7,7,7+8,8+,7+,7+,8,7+,7+,7+,7,7+,7 (Dec)
7,8,8,7,7,7,7,8,8,8,7,8,8

I know these numbers don’t mean a great deal to you, but they are huge to me – the difference in getting around at about a 5 compared to 7 & 8 is really big – numbers don’t do it justice. My mobility is MUCH improved – I don’t need the brace any longer, I walk like a normal person until I get tired, I can stay on my feet longer, I can jump rope again, I can stand and walk with my grandson in my arms, I don’t have to think to walk from one place to another, and even Kathy sees a huge difference (she has been a little hesitant about the good of stem cells).

So I am very excited and encouraged about my improvements. I can live a fairly normal life right now. And I don’t know if it’s the stem cells that made the difference or simply God’s grace and favor, but I do know it all happened right around the 3rd trip to Panama, so the stem cells had something to do with it. As I have said numerous times before, maybe God is using the stem cells to help me just as He used the Jordan River to heal Naaman’s leprosy after he dipped in it seven times.

But I do want to say this – all of these news shows (60 Minutes, 20/20, etc) coming from the US, that keep saying there are no benefits to stem cell treatments, are only showing you what the FDA and US drug companies want them to say. They have not talked to me, or Richard Humphries, or Preston Walker or many others who have seen dramatic results – we are not healed, but our quality of life is greatly improved and many people are witnessing it. (Now that I am better and getting out, people in town constantly say, “I can’t believe how well you look and how good you are doing.”)

Don’t listen to those media shows and don’t just listen to me – come see the difference!

Thanks again to all who have helped and have been encouraging in my quest to overcome this disabling disease. I encourage all of you to take your health issues into your own hands – be pro-active. What do you have to lose? Many of you may be thinking just like I was – if I do nothing, I know where I will be in 3 years.

One last bit of information – the clinic in Panama is having good but maybe mixed results with MS treatments, but they are whipping, yes whipping, arthritis! If you have a friend or loved one who is dealing with arthritis and the doctors here have said, “your only hope of being mobile again is knee replacements and/or hip replacements”, then you owe it to your friend or yourself to call me or get in touch with the stem cell clinic. What do yo have to lose? There are no side effects or dangers to stem cell treatments. Do it today!

Stay Strong!
Sam Harrell

972 268-3894

cellmedicine.com (website)

Umbilical cord stem cells may lead to new spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis treatments

Researchers in Florida have accomplished converting umbilical cord stem cells into other cell types. According to University of Central Florida bioengineer James Hickman, it’s the first time that non-embryonic cells have accomplished this feat. His research group published this work in the January 18th issue of ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

Two major benefits of umbilical cord-derived stem cells are that they have not been shown to cause adverse immune system reactions and they pose no ethical issues since they come from a source that would be naturally discarded anyway.

Hedvika Davis, a post-doc researcher and lead author of the paper, had to search for the right chemical to coax the stem cells into becoming oligodendrocytes, which are cells that insulate nerves residing in the brain and spinal cord.

Other researchers had already shown that oligodendrocytes bind with a hormone called norepinephrine and Davis theorized that this could be the key. So she used norepinephrine and other growth factors to induce the cells to differentiate into oligodendrocytes. The only problem was that the cells were not sufficiently developed as they would be in the body.

So Davis devised a novel approach of approximating the body’s environment in the lab. By growing the cells on top of a slide, with another slide on top, Davis was able to simulate a 3-dimensional environment and grow mature oligodendrocytes.

Because oligodendrocytes produce myelin, researcher believe that this discovery might lead to treatments for multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and diabetic neuropathy.