Home Depot Founder Bernie Marcus Receives Stem Cell Therapy in Panama

Bernie Marcus, Home Depot Founder, with Neil Riordan, PA, PhD

In his Amazon #1 best-selling book, Stem Cell Therapy: A Rising Tide – How Stem Cells Are Disrupting Medicine and Transforming Lives, our founder, Neil Riordan, PA, Ph.D., explores the science of stem cells and how they are changing the world. In one of the most compelling parts of the book, Dr. Riordan recounts working with Bernie Marcus, co-founder and first CEO of Home Depot. In this blog, we share Bernie’s experience with stem cell therapy and what turned him into a stem cell advocate.


Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot, had breathing and speaking problems due to a lung infection. Instead of a long antibiotic treatment, he tried stem cell therapy in Panama. This treatment reduced his symptoms and helped him speak better. He has since become an advocate for stem cell therapy, wanting to make it more accessible. 


Bernie Marcus Learns About Stem Cell Therapy

Bernie Marcus is the co-founder of Home Depot as well as the company’s first CEO. He suffered from a chronic lung condition known as bronchiectasis. It caused him to have difficulty breathing, especially during public speaking. As a prominent businessman and active philanthropist, Bernie is a sought-after speaker, so he knew he needed to find something to help improve his condition.


“I would get hoarse and cough ten to fifteen times every hour,” Bernie explained. “It was difficult to handle and [was] progressively getting worse.” 


He first went to National Jewish Health, the nation’s top respiratory hospital. The doctors told him he would have to take antibiotics for two years to treat his condition. But, the treatment would do a number on his digestion, so he sought an alternative.


Bernie’s physician recommended that he try stem cell treatment in Panama. He also had a good friend who had received treatment for a stomach disorder. Bernie felt comfortable with his doctor’s recommendation after his friend’s condition cleared up. 


Learn about other celebrities who have received stem cell therapy.


The Founder of Home Depot’s Response to Stem Cell Treatment

Bernie stopped coughing and was able to return to work shortly after stem cell therapy in Panama. “I was able to go back to public speaking without embarrassing myself,” he said. 


Bernie surprised the doctors at National Jewish Health after his stem cell treatment. Bronchiectasis never fully goes away, but his was almost undetectable. He also felt much better, saying, “My symptomatology has improved 90 percent.”


I believe a particular protein known as LL-37 affected Bernie’s bacterial infection,” explained Dr. Riordan. Discovered by Stanford University scientists, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) secrete this protein. “It’s also one of the most powerful microbials around.” 


Dr. Riordan continues, “Younger MSCs produce more LL-37. The stem cells Bernie received may have produced enough LL-37 to kill off the bacteria in his lungs.”


Explaining the MSC testing process, Dr. Riordan says:


“We actually tested the antimicrobial effect of our MSCs in the lab. We inoculated our MSCs with Staphylococcus bacteria in a petri dish. What we found was a zone of inhibition around each of the cells where the bacteria could not grow. The zone protected the cells from the bacteria, which may be due to the LL-37 they secrete.”


Introducing Friends and Family to Stem Cells

Bernie’s wife accompanied him on his next trip for treatment. She suffered from arthritic knees and her doctor had suggested replacing them. “As you know, total knee replacement means being out of action for six months per knee, which would mean a year of not being able to do the things she likes to do,” Bernie said. “She’s a very active woman.”


So, he brought her to Panama for stem cell treatment. “We had to carry her onto the plane because she couldn’t take any steps at all without tremendous pain.” Just three weeks after her treatment, she was back to playing golf four times a week with no pain. 


Fourteen months later, Bernie’s wife was still doing well. “When I go down [to Panama] again I’m going to take her with me to double up so it doesn’t happen again,” Bernie said. 


Two of Bernie’s friends also came down for back pain treatment following back surgery. He knew that stem cells would be a good investment, and both experienced amazing recoveries. “Both were crippled, in pain 24 hours a day, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t lie down—and both had orthopedic doctors who said stem cell treatment wouldn’t help,” said Bernie. 


Since treatment, both of Bernie’s friends are:

  • Pain-free
  • Functioning normally
  • Playing golf again without any painful aftermath


“They were reluctant to come to Panama, but they didn’t want surgery. ” he explained, “Today, both of them are functioning very, very well.” 


Discover the conditions we treat.


From Stem Cell Patient to Advocate

“My experiences in Panama have really moved me to try and get stem cells into the United States. I don’t know where it’s not going to be useful. The work in Panama is proving to be a blessing in disguise for a lot of people. It’s the opening of a new era, and especially umbilical cord stem cells.”


Bernie Marcus founded and chairs The Marcus Foundation, which focuses on children’s health, medical research, free enterprise, and Jewish causes. These different focuses have converged with his support for stem cell research. “It’s done such amazing things for me that I’ve become an advocate for stem cells,” he says. 


Are you interested in learning what stem cell therapy may be able to do for you? Apply for treatment today


The co-founder of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, was experiencing problems breathing and speaking due to a lung infection. Traditional antibiotics would require two years to complete, so he opted for stem cell therapy in Panama. It reduced Bernie’s symptoms and helped him speak better, motivating him to become a stem cell therapy advocate.


Stem Cell Institute in Panama City, Panama is at the forefront of applied stem cell research. Since our inception in 2008, we have performed over 50,000 procedures, helping thousands of families across the United States and worldwide embrace the opportunity for a better life. Our medical team prioritizes the health and well-being of all our patients through top-notch stem cell treatment and care.


*This blog was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for clarity and freshness

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