Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis – Jennifer’s Story on Treatment in Panama

Hi. My name is Jennifer and I’ve been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) since 2003. I started coming to the Stem Cell Institute last year, 2017, in January. My second treatment was in August of last year and now I am here for my third treatment [May 2018].

“I feel strongly that I wouldn’t be where I am here today. I would have been in a wheelchair.”

From my first treatment, I saw major improvements as far as being able to stand without wobbling or bouncing back and forth. I also can feel my toes. I also have more bladder control. The second treatment, I didn’t really see much improvement like I did the first. The first was major. But now I am here for my third and I’m trying to go within six to seven, eight months the most in between my treatments until I see, let’s say 70% improvement.

So, thank you and I support the Stem Cell Institute, and I feel strongly that I wouldn’t be where I am here today. I would have been in a wheelchair.

Treatment with Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Safe with Sustained Benefits for MS, Trial Shows

Image of GMP syringe prep lab at Stem Cell Institute clinic in Panama.

Stem cells being prepared for treatment.

March 20, 2018
Jose Marques Lopes, PhD
Link to Original Story at Multiple Sclerosis News Today

Treatment with umbilical cord [tissue-derived mesenchymal] stem cells was found to be safe and leads to sustained improvements in disability and brain lesions of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, according to a clinical trial.

The study, “Clinical feasibility of umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of multiple sclerosis,” was published in the Journal of Translational Medicine.

Although current treatments for MS are able to reduce the frequency of flare-ups and slow disease progression, they are not able to repair the damage to nerve cells or the myelin sheath, the protective layer around nerve fibers.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are adult stem cells found in multiple tissues, such as umbilical cord, bone marrow, and fat. These cells are able to mature into bone, cartilage, muscle, and adipose tissue cells.

MSCs may inhibit immune-mediated alterations. In particular, MSCs derived from the umbilical cord have a high ability to grow and multiply, increase the production of growth factors, and possess superior therapeutic activity, compared with other MSCs.

Diverse clinical studies have shown that MSCs can safely treat certain immune and inflammatory conditions, including MS.

The research team had previously demonstrated that MSCs can also improve cognitive and motor function.

Recent results with placenta or umbilical cord MSCs showed few mild or moderate adverse events, as well improvements in patients’ level of disability.

Researchers at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama have now completed a one-year Phase 1/2 clinical study (NCT02034188) to test the effectiveness and safety of umbilical cord MSCs for the treatment of MS.

The trial included 20 MS patients with a mean age of 41 years, 60 percent of whom were women. Fifteen participants had relapsing-remitting MS, four had primary progressive MS, and one had secondary progressive MS. Patients’ disease duration was a mean of 7.7 years.

Participants received seven intravenous infusions of 20×106 umbilical cord MSCs over seven days. The treatment’s effectiveness was evaluated at the start, at one month, and at one year after treatment.

Assessments included evaluating brain lesions with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and disability based on the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), as well as validated MS tests for neurological function, hand function, mobility, and quality of life.

Patients did not report any serious adverse events. Most mild adverse events possibly related to treatment were headaches, which are common after MSC infusions, and fatigue, which is common in MS patients, the authors observed.

Improvements were most evident at one month after treatment, namely in the level of disability, nondominant hand function, and average walk time, as well as bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfunction. Patients also reported improved quality of life.

MRI scans at one year after treatment revealed inactive lesions in 15 of 18 evaluated patients. One patient showed almost complete elimination of lesions in the brain, which “is a particularly encouraging finding,” the researchers wrote.

At the one year point, improvements in disability levels were also still present, and could translate into improved ability to walk and work without assistance.

“The potential durable benefit of UCMSC [umbilical cord MSC] at 1 month, and sustained in some measures to 1 year, is in stark contrast to current MS drug therapies, which are required to be taken daily or weekly,” the researchers wrote.

The safety of the treatment is another advantage over available MS therapies, the team said.

They concluded that “treatment with UCMSC intravenous infusions for subjects with MS is safe, and potential therapeutic benefits should be further investigated.”

Joe Rogan Interview with Mel Gibson and Dr. Riordan

Joe Rogan interviews Stem Cell Institute founder Neil Riordan, PA, PhD and award-winning actor, director and producer Mel Gibson, who first brought his father to Panama at the age of 92.  Mel discusses his father’s miraculous recovery.  He is now 99.  Dr. Riordan discusses stem cell therapy using human *umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells including their application in conditions like multiple sclerosis and autism.

*umbilical cords are donated following normal, healthy births

Stem Cell Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis

Image of Stem Cell Therapy Patient Marth Phillips

A Miracle for Martha
A woman’s journey of deliverance from pain

By Deanna Kirk Daily Sun Nov 26, 2017 (Link to original story)

The last 12 months have been a giant series of ups and downs, an extreme roller coaster for Martha Phillips.

Last December, her father-in-law battled brain cancer, which affected the lives of all of her close family; and her only brother died very suddenly from a pulmonary embolism. They were buried a week apart.

The battle with Multiple Sclerosis

Martha had been fighting her own battle against Multiple Sclerosis since a diagnosis in 2010. This disease causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues, and the malfunction destroys myelin, the fatty substance that coats and protects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Phillips’ had seen her own ups and downs in that battle as well, with medications that caused huge weight gain, severe intolerance to heat, and intense bouts with pain. She tried many different protocols and medications, but what seemed to make the most difference was an extreme dietary change, which led to a loss of 72 pounds, acupuncture, adjustments, and regular massage therapy. Under the care of Dr. William “Doc” Davis in Ennis, she went from 10 prescriptions down to two, and did quite well for nearly six years.

But after the bout with all the stress during December 2016, Phillips discovered her body just could not cope with all the continuous stress demands placed upon it, and she suffered a pretty severe setback. She was forced to go on disability from her job.

“The Tysybri I was having infused regularly has a black box warning,” Phillips said. “I had to sign paperwork when I started taking it, that I knew it could kill me.”

The neurologist offered several other choices of medications, but all were either equally as risky with not as many good results, or more risky with even worse results.

“To me, it felt like my only choice was going backwards, and to me that was unacceptable,” she said.

Phillips learned about a somewhat-new innovative treatment for people with Multiple Sclerosis, and it was not being done in the United States yet, but for $25,000 one could fly to Panama City, Panama and have the complete treatment done and stay right in the same hotel where the treatments are done.

The blessings of how all her funding came together to have the treatment were chronicled in a story that ran in the July 8, 2017 edition of the Daily Sun.

But this story is about the trip itself, the treatment, and how her life has been since the trip to Panama.

Life since Panama, and new stem cells

It’s been roughly three months since Phillips returned from Panama. She took her little sister Robine Reeves with her, and the things she noticed right off were 1) the Atlanta airport is awful, and 2) Panama is a lot like Texas with regard to the weather.

“It’s very Americanized — they take American dollars, Spanish is their primary language but it’s OK if you don’t speak it,” Phillips said. “The people in Panama are so super friendly, even the kids. A group of junior high kids got on the bus with us and many of them spoke to us. That was the day Vice President Pence was there, and we, stupid Americans, didn’t know he was there, but his motorcade was very impressive.”

Phillips notice that the Panamanian president’s motorcade also came through that morning, and they watched it all from the rooftop of their hotel where the pool was. And some guy from London had to tell them their own Vice President was there.

“The clinic has a very impressive concierge,” she said. “Someone was there holding a sign with my name on it at the airport. She took us to the VIP lounge and whisked us through customs and the fingerprint deal very quickly and painlessly, and called our driver who works for the clinic. He took us to the hotel, and showed us shopping and restaurants along the way.

“They don’t have really good restaurants, they just look for consistency,” she said.

“The next day, I had a medical checkup and blood work. The second day, they gave me stem cells through an IV. I also had two subcutaneous injections in the groin/lymph region, which were more painful than the IV.”

Phillips also had physical therapy that day which consisted of evaluation, stretching exercises, balance and strength.

“The stems cells they use are umbilical cord stem cells, which women donate when they give birth,” she said. “Since they are brand new, they double every 24 hours. They’re a perfect source because they multiply so fast. I got 1.33 million stem cells.”

The way the stem cells work for MS and some other autoimmune diseases they’re using them for is that they reset the immune system, she said. They do not go in and repair the damage the MS has already done to her brain, but there is scientific evidence that shows if MS stops attacking the body, the body can heal the brain and spinal lesions.

“They believe that because there’s another virus that does the same kind of damage to your brain, but because it does not continue to attack the brain, people recover from it,” Phillips said.

There was another day of treatment just like the previous day, then the following day the sisters flew home. On the day of the blood work and checkup, the doctor discussed diet and supplements with Martha.

“He started describing a high fat, low carb diet, and I said, ‘Do you mean a keto diet?’ and he said ‘Yes,’” she said. “He said I would be throwing my $25,000 down the drain if I did NOT follow this diet and take supplements.”

Phillips had already followed this diet in the past, but wasn’t following it very strictly at the time.

Her supplement list looked something like this: 2000 mg per day of Magnesium; B vitamins; CoQ10; Stemkline; Probiotics; and a lot of it is supposed to be for energy as well as for brain health.

“When I went to Panama, I was taking 10 prescriptions,” she said. “I am taking one now, 90 days later.

“That all actually happened within the first two weeks.

“I feel amazing. I feel like I can conquer the world. I’ve had more energy than I’ve had the entire time I’ve had MS.”

Philips said when she made her trip to Panama, her thought was if she could get rid of enough of the pain and fatigue in order to return to work, she would be happy.

“But I got SO much more — I actually have no symptoms right now.”

She’s also no longer a slave to heat intolerance. Before, when she went to CrossFit, she had to wear a cooling vest full of ice packs and stand in front of a giant fan or A/C unit in order to work out. The least little bit of heat would cause her to become very, very sick.

“The first time I worked out after my transplant, Nick (Biles) came over to check on me, and I cried and said ‘I can’t remember the last time I worked out without heat intolerance,’” she said.

The heat intolerance makes the MS Symptoms you have temporarily worse until your body cools down. That can happen with one degree of change in body temperature, she said.

“It’s really weird to me now, to learn how to live without thinking about all those things,” Phillips said. “For so long, I’ve had to consider all sorts of eventualities in every scenario I find myself in.”

Dallas Morning News Features Stem Cell Institute Multiple Sclerosis Patient Judy Lecoq

Image of Stem Cell Therapy MS Patient Judy Lecoq

Judi Lecoq, 57, of Arlington, has been traveling to Panama once a year since 2010 for umbilical cord stem cell treatments to treat her multiple sclerosis — an option that’s not available in the U.S. Because the treatment is controversial and not FDA-approved, she must pay for the medical costs as well as travel. But Lecoq sees improvement with each treatment and says she’s doing much better than doctors originally predicted when she was diagnosed 20 years ago.

“When I come back, I feel a complete change in my energy level,” she says. “Before my last trip, it was hard to get anything done or to concentrate. My feet were numb; they’re not numb anymore.”

From – Ticket to Health: Do your homework before traveling for medical procedures

Read/download the entire chapter on stem cell therapy for multiple sclerosis from Dr. Riordan’s book

Image of Book Cover for Stem Cell Thearpy - Rising Tide

For more detailed information about our MS treatments, we welcome you to read/download the entire chapter on stem cell therapy for MS from Dr. Riordan’s new book, Stem Cell Therapy: A Rising Tide – How Stem Cells are Disrupting Medicine and Transforming Lives.  CLICK HERE (FREE PDF)

“Neil takes readers on a riveting journey through the past, present and future of stem cell therapy. His well-researched, educational and entertaining book could change your life. I highly recommend it.”Tony Robbins, NY Times #1 Bestselling Author

“100 years old will soon become the new 60. Stem cells are a key therapeutic to enable this future. Dr. Riordan’s book is your guide to why this is true and how you will benefit. A must read for anyone who cares about extending their healthy lifespan.”Peter H. Diamandis, MD; Founder, XPRIZE & Singularity University; Co-Founder, Human Longevity, Inc.; Author of NY Times Best Sellers Abundance and Bold

Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis – Joyce Adair

Joyce discusses her progress after mesenchymal stem cell therapy at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama.

Interviewer: Today is July 28th, 2017. Can you give me your full name and diagnosis?

Joyce: Yes. My name is Joyce Adair and I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Interviewer: So, this is your second treatment?

Joyce: Yes.

Interviewer: Could you tell me your experience after the first treatment?

Joyce: Well, after the first treatment last year in April of 2016, I noticed a big change in my energy. I was able to finally go out and do things with my family and friends that I had been unable to do for years. I noticed a change with my pain level. It didn’t go completely away but it did get better and I was able to cut back on some of my medications at that time.

Interviewer: And you also mentioned that you stopped using a wheelchair?

Joyce: Oh, yes. I wasn’t using the wheelchair. I was able to walk on my own – not using a cane or anything at that time. I could put full weight on my legs.

Interviewer: We just finished your second treatment. Can you mention if you have had any improvements this week?

Joyce: I’ve had a lot of improvement this week. When I came on Sunday, I was in terrible pain. I was even unsure if I should come or not because I was afraid to travel on the plane with the amount of pain that I was having in my right leg. But once I had my first treatment this week, I noticed a big change in my pain and I also have noticed a big change in my energy. I have a lot more energy and I can tell that it’s definitely getting better.

Interviewer: Thank you very much.

New Study Suggests Healthy Donor Stem Cells Better Than MS Patient’s Own Stem Cells

Pre-Existing Inflammatory Diseases Reduce Therapeutic Potential of Stem Cells for MS Treatment, Study Shows

BY ALICE MELÃO (Original Story from Multiple Sclerosis News Today)

Pre-existing inflammatory diseases affecting the central nervous system make mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) less effective in treating multiple sclerosis (MS), concludes a study by researchers at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Diseases like EAE and MS diminish the therapeutic functionality of bone marrow MSCs, prompting re- evaluation about the ongoing use of autologous MSCs as a treatment for MS,” the team wrote, adding that its study supports the advancement of MSC therapy from donors rather than autologous MSC therapy to treat MS while raising “important concerns over the efficacy of using autologous bone marrow MSCs in clinical trials.

The study, “CNS disease diminishes the therapeutic functionality of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells,” notes that MSCs potentially produce several signaling proteins that can regulate immune system responses as well as help tissue regenerate. Preclinical studies have shown that this can reduce brain inflammation while improving neural repair in animal models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). This model resembles the inflammation and neuronal damage seen in MS patients.

Given the need for effective new MS therapies, the results will help MSCs to advance to human clinical trials. So far, results have reported good safety data, though such therapies have failed to demonstrate therapeutic efficacy. Most such trials so far have used stem cells collected from the patient, a process known as autologous transplantation — yet this may explain why MSCs have not been effective. It’s possible that pre-existing neurological conditions may alter stem cells’ responsiveness as well as their therapeutic activity.

To see whether that is in fact the case, team members collected stem cells from the bone marrow of EAE mice. But these stem cells were unable to improve EAE symptoms, whereas stem cells collected from healthy mice retained all their therapeutic potential and improved EAE symptoms.

A more detailed analysis showed that the MSCs derived from EAE animals had different features than their healthy counterparts.

In addition, the team confirmed that MSCs collected from MS patients were also less effective in treating EAE animals, compared to MSCs from healthy controls. Indeed, these MSCs from patients produced pro-inflammatory signals instead of the protective anti-inflammatory ones.

“Diseases like EAE and MS diminish the therapeutic functionality of bone marrow MSCs, prompting re- evaluation about the ongoing use of autologous MSCs as a treatment for MS,” the team wrote, adding that its study supports the advancement of MSC therapy from donors rather than autologous MSC therapy to treat MS while raising “important concerns over the efficacy of using autologous bone marrow MSCs in clinical trials.”

Sam Harrell at Texas State House Public Hearing on Stem Cell Therapy HB810

Multiple Sclerosis patient and stem cell therapy recipient, Sam Harrell, speaks before the Texas State House Public Health Committee about how stem cell therapy at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama improved his life.

Sam’s testimony:

Chairman my name is Sam Harrell. I’m from Ennis Texas. I represent myself and I’m here in favor of House Bill 810. I’m just a football coach. That’s all I’ve ever been. There’s nothing easy about that but it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, and I love what I do, and I’m doing what I love. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. But I’d done that all my life and I was head coach in Ennis Texas, and everything was going great, and I had all these big plans and dreams, and in 2005 I was diagnosed with MS. At first it didn’t show up much so my wife and I didn’t tell a lot of people, but from 2005 to 2009 I’d gone where you couldn’t even notice anything to coaching out of a golf cart. Couldn’t stand up, couldn’t walk on my own, so in 2009 I had to retire from coaching, and in 2010 I had to retire completely from education, not because I wanted to, but because of MS.

During that time I was going to see the best guys, and they’re great guys in Dallas, and their heart’s in the right place, and they had me on MS meds and obviously not much was helping. That’s what they tell you about the meds. They won’t get you better. They just hope to slow it down.

Well, from 2005 to 2009, I went from coaching and walking and working out in the sun to not being able to walk and sit at home using a walker every day, so that slow down process wasn’t very slow in my mind. A friend of mine told me about Preston Walker, who went down to Central America for stem cells. Fortunately, in 2010, I found myself in Panama getting stem cells, and I fast-forwarded to 2014. I was doing so well again that I said, “I think I could coach again.” And I started again at Fort Worth Christian high school, and I’ve being doing that for the last three years. I get up every day, throw on my shorts and my tennis shoes and move again, and I never dreamed I’d do that. And it’s all because of adult stem cells in Panama. And that’s why I’m for this bill, house bill 810. I appreciate your time so much.

Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis – Wes Meadlock

Transcription from Telephone Interview with MS stem cell patient, Wes Meadlock.

I’ll start from the beginning and tell you what I know.

In 2011, I started feeling something was wrong, and went to a neurologist here in town, went to his MRIs, and all his little testing, and this and that, and he said, “You’ve either got Lyme’s disease or MS.” The reason they said Lyme disease is because we have a place deep in the woods, and we stay there a lot on the weekends for a couple of years, and I got a lot of tick bites. We went through the whole thing of MS or Lyme’s disease, so I was thinking, maybe that’s what I got?

I’m not quite normal but I’m pretty close, at 80-85% of being normal. …but compared to some other people I know who have MS that I’ve done some aquatic classes with, I am far superior to them. I really believe this stuff works.

In the meantime, my father’s wife has had cancer pretty bad a couple of times, and he knows a lot of people at U. of Alabama at Birmingham; a really good hospital. He said, “I know somebody up here who’s really good with MS, why don’t you come up here and have him test you.” So, I went up there in the fall of 2012 and he did his testing, and he was telling me, “You have MS.” He said he could get me into some clinical trials, and I was thinking, “I don’t like pharmaceutical drugs.” I said, “If I could find something else, some other way, I’m going to try it.” I’ve been doing a lot of Internet research and talked to a few other people who said you should try some stem cells, so I did that. I went to Panama the first time. I did the liposuction, and they tried to get 90 million cells from me, and they could only get 45 million. I’m rather thin and wasn’t in too good a health at the time. They said, “We’ll mix it with some umbilical cord to get you the 90 million, so you’ll get 45 of your own and 45 of umbilical, and I think that was a two week ordeal to get that treatment.

I came back home and was feeling so much better. At that particular point I was having a problem walking with my left leg not cooperating, so when I came back from there, I felt like I’d gotten a good bit better. So, I decided to go back the following year. 2013 was the first time I went, and in 2014 they said, “Do you want to do umbilical?” I said no I do not, so they said they’d try something else. It turned out to be the umbilical cord cells, and when I got done a doctor told me, “You should be good for three years.” That’s where I am now, and I decided in the last few months that I need to go back again. When I called they said they had an opening on March the 13th and I said, “Okay, I’ll take it.” I just felt like, basically I don’t do any other drug, and I do believe it helps. The only one I do now is Naltrexone. It’s a 4.5mg dose of that and it sure helps my coordination and my walking. I’m not quite normal but I’m pretty close, at 80-85% of being normal. That’s about where I am now.

I’m not 100% but compared to some other people I know who have MS that I’ve done some aquatic classes with, I am far superior to them. I really believe this stuff works.

When I went back the second time, I’ve noticed a lot of difference there, I’m a full believer that stuff pulled from your own fat, and I’m 62 years old, can’t be as good as umbilical cord stuff and the way they process it. When I first started this they did nothing like it in the states, but they’re doing the liposuction stuff now. I went to a doctor close by here and told him my story, and he was trying to sell his products so he was against my story, but I said, “You need to do a little more research, because what you’re saying isn’t true. I’m a true testament.”

After I talked to him and he fed me a big line of BS, and I said, “You don’t even know what you’re talking about. You do in a sense and you’re trying to sell your product, I understand that, but you’re not hitting the whole base, that’s for sure.”

Stem Cell Therapy at Stem Cell Institute on PBS-TV Dallas-Fort Worth this Sunday! PBS KERA TV-13

Brenda Watson Show. KERA
PBS TV (KERA 13) in Dallas-Fort Worth – Go inside our clinic and lab in Panama, and watch interviews with 3 patients. The other episode follows a knee patient through the treatment process at Dr. RIordan’s orthopedic stem cell clinic in Southlake, Texas. Sunday, January 29th from 12pm – 1pm.

Stem Cells I

Riordan-McKenna Institute – Stem Cell Therapy for Orthopedics

Take a journey with marathon runner and knee patient Jim Morella as he undergoes a stem cell augmented arthroscopic knee procedure. Peer inside the operating room as Dr. McKenna harvests stem cells from Jim’s bone marrow, prepares them, and injects them into his knee. Tag along with Brenda as she interviews Jim at home following his recovery.

Dr. McKenna discusses Jim’s case with Brenda and explains why stem cell injections alone are not necessarily the best solution to knee problems, including Jim’s. He also touches upon the FDA’s current role regarding regulations.

Dr. Riordan talks about how the proprietary amniotic membrane tissue product used by RMI can enhance bone marrow stem cell therapy and the safety aspects of such treatments.

Dr. McKenna Stem Cell Augmented Surgery 3

Stem Cells II

Stem Cell Institute in Panama: Spinal Cord Injury, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and More…

Brenda Watson takes you inside the Stem Cell Institute and Medistem Labs in Panama. If you have ever wondered what stem cell therapy is like in Panama, this show is for you.

See inside the laboratory and clinic as Brenda follows three patients through the treatment and recovery process: Sam Harrell (MS), Juan Jose Ballareno (Spinal Cord Injury) and Todd Rinehart (RA).

Meet the team as she interviews key players:

Neil Riordan, PhD, Founder and Chief Scientist of Medistem Labs, explains how the Panamanian government regulates stem cells in Panama. He discusses how HUCT-MSCs work on RA before delving into the subject of clinical trials in Panama and the USA.

Medical director, Jorge Paz Rodriquez, MD discusses how HUCT-MSCs work and why they can be transplanted without immune system rejection.

Rodolfo Fernandez, Medistem Panama Laboratory Director talks about tissue selection and processing.