Dr. Riordan gave a talk about stem cell tourism. Here he is joined by “the father of the mesenchymal stem cell”, Arnold Caplan, Phd and Dr. Priscilla Ortiz.
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.
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.
John Guerriero discusses the progress of his son Anthony with Neil Riordan, PhD, PA after undergoing stem cell therapy at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama City, Panama. Anthony was treated with human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells. The umbilical cords were donated by mothers following normal, healthy births.
Stephen Lallo discusses his son Jack’s improvements after undergoing stem cell therapy at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama City, Panama. The treatments us human umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells. The umbilical cords are donated by mothers following normal, healthy births.
Transcription from Telephone Interview with MS stem cell patient, Wes Meadlock.
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.”
My name is Maria, I’m Sofia’s mom, and this is my husband Sean, and that’s Sofia!
Sofia suffered a lack of oxygen at birth and has cerebral palsy because of it, so it’s a middle-grade injury.
We’ve been here last year for the stem cell treatment and she showed immediate improvement. Her circulation improved. She used to have purple toes and that stopped since the last treatment. Her vision improved. Her far-away vision last year, and this year she has reported to us that she has more sensation in the body, her hearing… like, last night we went out and she didn’t need the headphones. She was okay.
She wasn’t bothered by the noise from the traffic. She was much better, looser, and happier.
And definitely, she also reported that her vision improved even further. She was able to describe the colors of the cars, birds that she saw from the 24th floor.
And today, she says she doesn’t have pain in her arms and stomach anymore, so she feels looser and more comfortable.
The heart attack I had at 44 was a massive one – a 3 on a scale of 4, so the damage was very bad. When you get a 3, you know at 4 you’re dead. The whole left side was damaged, and it was the hospital’s fault because back then when a woman went in with chest pain they didn’t care 20 years ago. If I’d been a man they’d have paid more attention but because I was young, they left me for six hours and did nothing. During those six hours, I was in full-blown heart attack mode and imagine the damage that was done. The nurses kept saying it but nobody else noticed. The waiting list in Canada for the bypass was a year and a half and that’s how we ended up in Miami with Dr. Kretchmar. He is the doctor I trust. He’s been with me for 20 years. I felt good after my bypass for about ten years and then I started going downhill, started getting blockages again. I’ve got three stents implanted not to mention a torn artery. That’s when Dr. Kretchmar recommended that I go to Panama for stem cells.
So, I got on a plane with my son and went for the treatment at the Stem Cell Institute. I went back six months later, not because I had to, because I wanted to, I didn’t want to take any chances of any fall back. I wanted to be on the safe side. I went the second time and the side effects weren’t that bad, there were hardly any side effects.
I found the second treatment was even better than the first. I was getting more energy, I was doing things . . . I could kneel down and pick something up and get up again, but I noticed in the summertime working around the pool that I was able to pick up leaves, vacuum the pool, and doing things that I haven’t done in a couple of years.
I decided again on my own that I was going back again. I went again the third time and I’ve been going every six months. After the third one, I realized I didn’t need nitro anymore. I wasn’t using the nitro patch, nor was I using the nitroglycerin spray. I had no angina. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. Before, I couldn’t go up a flight of stairs without stopping halfway!
Thing were progressing so well that I said, can I come back again? I just wanted this to keep going that way. I did have a fourth treatment in October. After the fourth treatment, we decided that we’ll wait a year because four is quite a bit, and I’m feeling . . . as long as I feel like I’m doing great, there’s no point in me just going for the sake of going. It’s all good
I used to get up and fall asleep all over the place. I’d get up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, and then I was sleeping with my coffee in my hands. I didn’t even know I was sleeping. I would take my granddaughter to see a movie and she’d be waking me up after the movie was over. I just could not stay awake. I felt so weak; zero energy, none whatsoever. I’ve seen a huge, huge difference. I’ve mentioned it to so many people that know me already. I say, “listen guys, I’ve gone there four times, had four treatments, and I’ll go back again if I have to.” For me that was my saving grace.
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.
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.
MS Patient, Jason Upshaw and his wife, Michelle discuss his stem cell treatments at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama with founder and chief scientist, Neil Riordan, PhD. Jason was diagnosed with MS 21 years ago.
Jason: The very first time I came it was relapsing/remitting, and it progressed to secondary progressive, and that was the second trip that we came. I haven’t actually felt this good in years. I have no MS symptoms whatsoever, other than a bit of heat fatigue, still, but other than that, no numbness; no tingling; and I haven’t felt this good in years.
Jason: When I went the first time, it was to Costa Rica at y’all’s clinic and they had to put me on the plane in a wheelchair, and they had to transfer me between flights in a wheel chair. I couldn’t walk from here to the door without being exhausted and I still had a lot of numbness and tingling. When I got home from that trip I walked off the plane, got my own luggage, and walked out to the parking lot to the car that was waiting for us. It improved my life in one treatment.
Jason: Um, of course the numbness and tingling gradually went away, I haven’t had any numbness or tingling in years. The fatigue has gotten a lot better. A lot of it, if I’m smart, I don’t have any symptoms. I know my limits and if I push them too far… but I don’t think it’s just the MS. When you get tired, your body shuts down. I don’t blame a lot of it on MS. It’s just that when I get started, I just like to go, go, go, go. If I push it too far, I pay for it, but if I’m smart, I don’t go too far.
Dr. Riordan: You first came in August of 2008. When did you come a second time, in 2010? So, you felt the need to come back in 2010, so what were the symptoms like then?
Jason: The numbness and tingling wasn’t an issue. I could tell that I was dealing with more fatigue than I had been, so before I got down to where I was [before], I wanted to get a head start on it, so I came back. The heat was really bothering me then. My gait when I was walking… people could tell I wasn’t doing as well anymore. So before I got to rock bottom, to where I was before, I went to Costa Rica, I thought I’d get back down here and try to get ahead of the curve, and I’ve been going back ever since.
Jason: Yeah. I live in Texas so it’s going to be hot, but I think because of my medical history I have to pay closer attention than most, but for anyone if you stay out in the heat too long, you’re going to get drained. You’re going to get tired. It affects me more so than somebody without MS, but like I said, if I’m smart now and listen to my body, I really don’t have any problems.
Michelle: I’ve been with Jason through every step in this and with all his physicians in the states, and I would send anybody here. It’s extremely loving first of all, extremely hands-on in trying to help you.
Even if you need a glass of water, it’s not a bother, just little things like that. Extremely professional, wanting to make sure you go that extra step and know what you’re dealing with, that you’re not afraid of what you’re fixing to do. Being on the opposite end of this and not being the one who’s being treated you feel helpless, but here I haven’t felt helpless with anything Jason’s needed to go through. Everybody’s been so reassuring and reaffirming, and there’s been no questions. And if there are questions, they get answered. It’s a night and day difference. We’re not just a number, or a name, or the money being paid to make this happen. It’s truly being done because y’all care and it works! It just truly works, and I’d send anyone here in a heartbeat. The therapy of it, the physical therapy, it’s not you just go and exercise. You’re taught life skill exercise you can use until you’re 100 years old if you live that long, and continue to be stronger and better.
Jason: I’d like to qualify this: in the US I’ve had some of the best MS specialists that there are, who are still good friends of mine, but… it’s… my experience with MS in the United States is that they treat the symptoms and don’t look for a cure. I’ve been on every MS medication that there is, the last time I checked, and honestly the side effects were worse than what they were trying to fix, a lot of it. They weren’t doing anything. They said that the goal of each one of those was to lengthen the amount of time between relapses, which means you’re still going to have a relapse.
When we came here, I want to fix the problem. That’s what we found here. I speak to people with MS on a daily basis. I could make a full time job out of answering emails and phone calls about what stem cells have done for me, and I spend a great deal of time doing that. I don’t endorse the clinic, I don’t get paid a penny for doing it, but to me that would be the most selfish thing in the world to know it works if I didn’t take the time to share my story with other MS patients.
Y’all have changed my life. I’m back. I’m still in law enforcement. I work a 40 hour week that seems like a vacation. I’m not a proud man. The day my boss gave me my badge and gun back I cried like a baby because that was really the only thing that I’d ever given up on. I don’t give up. I never thought, ‘I won’t walk again,’ even when specialists told me, ‘Jason you might not walk again,’ because all that would do is make me more mad and more determined. The only thing that I nearly gave up on was never being able to wear a badge and gun again, and you guys gave me that back.
Every day when I take that first step it actually means something. It’s not I have to go to work tomorrow. I get to go to work tomorrow. It changes your whole thinking. She was talking about the staff. I get to tell people every time I talk to them that this is the finest group of doctors I ever dealt with. I’ve had some outstanding doctors in the US, but as far as… I’ll put the doctors here up against anyone in the world. The caring, the professionalism, if you have a question, they have an answer, and it’s… speaking from experience when I went to Costa Rica I was scared to death. I tried everything for my MS and nothing was working. I decide one day I’ve tried it all. I’d read about the clinic from another law enforcement officer who’d kept a blog about every day he spent in Costa Rica, which I followed religiously. I sent my application before he even got back and was approved. I met Preston Walker, the day after he got back was the day before I was supposed to leave. It was wonderful meeting him; if someone told you he had MS you wouldn’t know it to look at him, and he had the same results I did, and he’s still working today. But it was scary. I’m a country boy, I was raised on a farm, and for me to get on a plane to another country to get medical care down there… we all hear the horror stories. But after my first visit with the doctors I was at ease and it’s the finest group of doctors I’ve ever been associated with.
Michelle: And we’ve heard that from everybody. We have a group of people from every time we were here. I keep a group of people and stay in contact, and everybody is happy. Everybody who is dealing with children who have patients here to adults… we tell everyone when we were coming here that we were going on a family reunion because that’s just how we feel. This is like a family for us. Y’all have loved us and stood there with us through the hardest times and helped us have our life back and to us, that’s family.
Jason: We sat in our driveway and cried the day I sold my electric scooter because that was the only way I could get around. We sold it and when the gentleman come picked it up, we sat in our driveway and cried. It was so good to see that go, it was a godsend when I needed it, but it was so good seeing that go.
I’ll stand on top of the highest mountain and sing your praises to anyone that will listen, because like I said, it would be the most selfish thing in the world if I didn’t. I don’t just think it works, I’m walking proof that it works. I’ve talked to hundreds of people who have ended up coming down here, and I won’t say that everyone’s had the same results that I’ve had, but I can only think of two out of hundreds who just flat-out said it didn’t work.
That was my whole philosophy when I came down, I was so scared of getting my hopes up. I saw it worked for Preston Walker, but I’d been giving every witch potion you can think of saying this is going to make it all better. Medicine or herbal it didn’t matter. All I could see it was draining my checking account and not helping me at all. Of the hundreds I’ve talked to, with all but two, have said they were much better when they got back. I told myself if I had a better quality of life when I got home, then it worked. I don’t care how big or how small, if I had a better quality of life then it worked, and boy did it.
Michelle: If it didn’t work we wouldn’t be coming back for maintenance. If I can advise a spouse that is wanting to help in any way, this is not a miracle cure. This is something like with anything you do to change your life and make that commitment. This is going to give you the tools and everything you need and it’s going to jumpstart you to such a level – that you have that will and desire to go again that it’s given him. It’s your responsibility when you’re given that gift, You have to take care of it. You have to maintain it and nurture it. I think that’s why Jason’s been so successful; coming in with his mind-frame, when he got that gift with the stem cells. He’s taken it and he’s taking care of that gift and has nurtured it and that’s why we keep coming back; to boost it and keep it going.
Jason: When I was coming back I told my Sheriff, my boss, that I was coming back, and he’s seen me at my worst and my best because I’ve been working for the same place for seventeen years. When I told him I was coming back down, he got a very concerned look at first like, ‘are you not doing okay?’ and I laughed. It’s the joke around the office that I haven’t felt this good in years. I’m going down for a tune-up, and they all got a good laugh out of that. That’s how I see it. I’m getting a tune-up and I’ll keep coming down for it as long as you’ll have me.
Michelle: When I say I love you guys, and I haven’t met y’all, it’s because you’ve meant so much to me. I married this man not-healthy, walking with the assistance of a cane or a walker. I was the one who got to pick him up at the airport that day, and watch him walk upright like the strong man that he is for the very first time and it was wonderful. So that was the most wonderful thing anybody can have. So I’ve loved y’all since that moment.
I was diagnosed 20 years ago. My heart was stopped up. I have 11 stents in my heart. When they put in (stents) nine, ten and eleven they blocked an artery and caused me to have a heart attack. Then 4 years later, I went to the doctor and he did an EKG and he said he needed to do a nuclear scan. That was in May 2011. In July of 2011 he did a nuclear scan and then called me and told me there was nothing else he could do for me.
A friend of mine in Corpus Christi told me about stem cells in Panama. So I checked into it and I came down in October of 2011 and had a treatment.
[Mr. Gray received multiple doses of human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells over the course of several days.]
I didn’t feel anything for 30 days. Then I started feeling better and really felt good. I went to the doctor in January of 2012. He did an EKG and walked in and said, “What have you done?” I said, “What are you talking about?” He said, “You have a normal EKG. You’ve never had one of these before.“ So I asked my wife, “Do you think I ought to tell him?” This was in St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson Mississippi; the one that had caused me to have the heart attack. So I asked her, “Reckon I ought to tell him I had got stem cells?” She said, “Yes.” So I told him. He looked like I had cut his throat. He was white as a sheet and he wanted to know, “How did they do it?” and I told him.
Since then I have had 3 normal EKGs. The last one was about 2 months ago.
Well, I had another treatment about 11 months later and it fixed my kidneys the second time. The first time it fixed my heart. It didn’t do anything else but then the second time it fixed my kidneys. I had horse shoe kidneys and I was operated on when I was 33 years old, 35 years old and now I’m 69. My kidney had grown together and my kidneys have been bad my whole life but now they’re fine.