Heart failure patient has 3 normal EKGs after stem cell therapy

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.

VIDEO – The Science of Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine – Arnold Caplan PhD (Part 6)

In part 6, Prof. Caplan discusses Trophic properties of mesenchymal stem cells; MSCs for heart disease; MSCs homing to heart injury site and also to skin incision site; MSCs limit left ventricular thinning following infarction; Trophic properties of MSCs: anti-apoptotic, anti-fibrotic, anti-scarring, angiogenic, mitotic; phase 1 data for allogeneic MSCs show fewer arrhythmias, prompt heart rate recovery, and improved lung function; autologous adipose tissue-derived stromal vascular fraction for treatment of chronic heart disease; Active mesenchymal stem cell clinical trials around the world; Induction therapy with autologous MSCs in kidney transplants; MSCs can coax neural stem cells to become oligodendrocytes, curing mice with MS using allogeneic human MSCs.

Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Failure – Lillian Rowland

Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Failure patient Lillian RowlandLillian Rowland is a 79 year-old [former] heart failure patient from Ohio. She was diagnosed with heart failure in March 2012. Her left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) at that time was measured at 25%. Normal LVEF range is 55% – 70%.

Lillian’s cardiologist recommended an implantable defibrillator. At the time, she did not want to go through the implantation procedure so she declined. Lillian decided to go to the Stem Cell Institute (SCI) in Panama for human umbilical cord-derived stem cell treatments after hearing about it from her son Jay Lenner who works for SCI as its Public Relations Manager.

Below is a brief interview with Lillian in March 2013. Today, her heart is back into normal range (LVEF = 55%) and her cardiologist told her that she no longer needs an implantable defibrillator.

What was your diagnosis?

I was diagnosed with heart failure.

When were you diagnosed?

I was diagnosed in March 2012.

What symptoms did you have?

I couldn’t breathe at night. I was sleeping and I had to get up. I was gasping for breath.

Why did you choose the Stem Cell Institute?

Because my son works in stem cells and after I got out of the hospital in Arizona he wanted to take me down to have stem cells to see if it could help repair the damage to my heart.

How where the doctors at the clinic?

The doctors were very nice and there’s really nothing to it. It’s just an injection that goes into [a catheter placed into a vein inside] your hand. It’s not like they are operating on you or anything.

How was the clinic?

The clinic is very clean and sterile and the people are very nice.

Do you have any symptoms now?

It’s been a year since I had the stem cells and I am symptom free.

I had an echocardiogram a year after the stem cells and when they read it my ejection fraction was 55%. They wanted to put a defibrillator in me and the heart doctor came up and said, there’s no reason to put one in now because my heart was OK.

Would you recommend that other heart failure patients go to Panama for treatment?

Yes I would.

Do you think this changed your life?

Yes. I don’t have to worry about having a heart problem!

The umbilical cord stem cells we use are recovered from donated umbilical cords following normal, healthy births. Before they are approved for use in treatments, all umbilical cord-derived stem cell samples are screened for viruses and bacteria to International Blood Bank standards.

Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Disease – Jim Parker Attorney at Law and former Texas State Legislature Member

Stem Cell Therapy Heart Patient Jim ParkerJim Parker, Attorney at Law is a former Texas State Legislature member who was treated with umbilical-cord derived stem cells for heart disease at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama in March 2011.

Jim was kind enough to answer some questions about his condition before and after treatment. He also discusses his trip to Panama, the clinic and its staff.

What is your diagnosis and when were you diagnosed?

Exactly what my diagnosis was I cannot say in medical terms. Factually speaking, I had five (5) by-passes in 1995 (or thereabouts) and then had nine (9) stents added over the next 13 or 14 years. I began to experience severe angina in January and February of 2011 and was hospitalized in February with a series of heart attacks. I had consulted my cardiologist in Abilene and had also gone to a cardiologist in Dallas who was supposed to be really good. They both told me that there was simply nothing else I could do. When I was released from the local hospital in early March of 2011, my family doctor gave me a bottle of morphine and a bottle of nitroglycerine and basically told me to make it as well as I could for as long as I could.

Panama did not exactly change my life. It literally gave my life back to me.

We had heard about the Panama operation (Stem Cell Institute) from local people who had gone for various reasons. Every one of them seemed well-pleased with the results they were able to get. After release from the local hospital in early March of 2011, I sent my medical records to Panama and arranged an appointment in mid-March. I traveled to Panama in a wheel chair because I was not able to walk in the airport.
Upon arrival in Panama the first day was spent drawing my blood for blood tests. The next 7 days the (umbilical cord-derived) stem cells were infused back into my body.

I found the staff to be very helpful and apparently knowledgeable. Our needs outside the clinic were well taken care of and we were very satisfied with our experience.

I steadily improved after Panama to the point where I have now resumed a normal life (at as normal as a 68 year-old guy can expect) and I am back at work. I have not had to use a nitroglycerine pill in over a year and, so far as I can tell, I have no immediate heart problems and but for the damage suffered from my earlier episodes, my heart would be in good shape. My longtime cardiologist will still see me but he believes Panama was some sort of voodoo and I have just been lucky. I continue to take a mild blood pressure medication and I do still take blood thinner. However, about 6 months after Panama my blood pressure got so low they had to cut down the strength of the medication.

What symptoms did you have before you cam for treatment?

Prior to Panama I had a series of heart attacks over a number of years and was eating nitroglycerine tablets like M&Ms.

Which treatments did you try in the U.S. first, and when did you know that you needed to find help outside of the country?

I tried every treatment available in the US of A. Had every test know to man. I mean 5 by-passes and 9 stents many not be a record but it has to be well beyond average.

Why did you choose The Stem Cell Institute in Panama for stem cell treatment?

I chose the Stem Cell Institute in Panama because several local folks had gone there and they were pleased with the results. And, I really had no place to go but the cemetery.

How were the doctors at the clinic? How were the facilities?

The only doctor I recall seeing was Dr. Paz. The facilities were at least on par with what you would find in the US and the staff was more solicitous and helpful than you would find in the US.

How are your symptoms now? How have they improved?

I have no symptoms now. (Knock on wood). I have some breathing issues but I am told that is COPD and it is not really all that bad. I could live another 100 years feeling as good as I do now.

Have you reduced or eliminated any of the medications you were taking before stem cell therapy?

I have cut way back on medication I was using prior to Panama and feel I could probably cut back some more; however, I have to give the local MD’s something to work on. And, by the way, I go to the doctor as little as possible now. Maybe twice a year at most.

How soon did you start seeing/noticing a difference? How was your overall experience?

I began to notice a difference (maybe it was just anticipation) about 6 to 8 weeks after returning from Panama. It has gotten better and better since then. Since I can move around, I have lost over 40 pounds and now am at 6 feet tall and 215 pounds, down from over 250 pounds.

How has this changed your life?

Panama did not exactly change my life. It literally gave my life back to me. I have been married to the same woman for over 50 years and we were able to become intimate again. I am out and about every day and pretty much do what I want to do and go where I want to go.

Additional Comments

Many people should know about this option. There are people dying here in the land of the free and the home of the brave each day that are in better shape than I was when I went to Panama.

And, by the way, I am not subject to flights of fancy and accepting things a thinking person might not accept. I hold a doctor of jurisprudence degree and have been a criminal defense attorney all my adult life. I am about as cynical and skeptical as you will find but I am a believer in your process.

Thank you,

Jim Parker

Endometrial regenerative cells for treatment of heart failure: a new stem cell enters the clinic

Leo Bockeria, Vladimir Bogin, Olga Bockeria, Tatyana Le, Bagrat Alekyan, Erik J Woods, Amalia A Brown, Thomas E Ichim and Amit N Patel

Journal of Translational Medicine 2013, 11:56 doi:10.1186/1479-5876-11-56
Published: 5 March 2013

Heart failure is one of the key causes of morbidity and mortality world-wide. The recent findings that regeneration is possible in the heart have made stem cell therapeutics the Holy Grail of modern cardiovascular medicine. The success of cardiac regenerative therapies hinges on the combination of an effective allogeneic “off the shelf” cell product with a practical delivery system. In 2007 Medistem discovered the Endometrial Regenerative Cell (ERC), a new mesenchymal-like stem cell. Medistem and subsequently independent groups have demonstrated that ERC are superior to bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), the most widely used stem cell source in development. ERC possess robust expansion capability (one donor can generate 20,000 patients doses), key growth factor production and high levels of angiogenic activity. ERC have been published in the peer reviewed literature to be significantly more effect at treating animal models of heart failure (Hida et al. Stem Cells 2008).Current methods of delivering stem cells into the heart suffer several limitations in addition to poor delivery efficiency. Surgical methods are highly invasive, and the classical catheter based techniques are limited by need for sophisticated cardiac mapping systems and risk of myocardial perforation. Medistem together with Dr. Amit Patel Director of Clinical Regenerative Medicine at University of Utah have developed a novel minimally invasive delivery method that has been demonstrated safe and effective for delivery of stem cells (Tuma et al. J Transl Med 2012). Medistem is evaluating the combination of ERC, together with our retrograde delivery procedure in a 60 heart failure patient, double blind, placebo controlled phase II trial. To date 17 patients have been dosed and preliminary analysis by the Data Safety Monitoring Board has allowed for trial continuation.The combined use of a novel “off the shelf” cell together with a minimally invasive 30 minute delivery method provides a potentially paradigm-shifting approach to cardiac regenerative therapy.


Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Disease: John Coleman

John “Skeeter” Coleman, III received stem cells for heart failure in Costa Rica in 2008″

“… Blood samples were taken to find donor placentas with tissue types compatible to mine. Three weeks later I received two IV injections per day for seven days. It was done on an outpatient basis in CIMA hospital. Simple, painless and I could drive myself to and from the hospital for the injections. Four months after the stem cell therapy my cardiologist asked me to return for tests to see if we had made any progress. Blood studies revealed BNP 620 (down from 3,875); Hemoglobin A1c 6.0; all other tests were normal. Ejection fraction had increased to 51 (up from 26 two months after ICD implant and up from 12 on original admission) and there were no further problems with dyspnea. She was ecstatic. I was elated. We hugged and both of us shed tears of joy before she emailed that same phalanx of physicians who kept me alive previously with my spectacular results.

“The quality of my life has been enhanced immeasurably. I definitely breathe easier and I’m climbing up and down the mountain daily with no problems and no stopping every 15 meters (48’) to catch my breath.”

Prior to stem cell therapy my ICD defibrillated five times preventing sudden cardiac death. A change in one medication followed by the stem cell therapy and I am “defib free” for 14 months. The quality of my life has been enhanced immeasurably. I definitely breathe easier and I’m climbing up and down the mountain daily with no problems and no stopping every 15 meters (48’) to catch my breath. How long I will live is not in my hands but I appreciate the fact I am no longer burdened by a powerful pharmaceutical lobby that maintains a stranglehold on the US Congress. One doctor explained it in simple terms. “Pharmaceutical firms make money selling drugs. Stem cell therapy has the capability of curing possibly eliminating all drug therapy. There are many things the United States has to be proud of. This isn’t one of them.Think about it.!”

2012-12-03T22:38:27+00:00December 3rd, 2012|Heart Disease, Patient Stories|

Stem Cell Treatments for Heart Disease: Daniel Wills

“I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse in October of 2005. Dr Tonkovic of Midwest Heart Specialists in Hoffman Estates Illinois informed me i needed surgery to repair the valve immediately. He said that he felt without surgery I would die within six months. I had the surgery. Dr. Timothy James at Sherman Hospital in Elgin Illinois did the surgery. In February 2006, after being diagnosed with heart failure, I had a bi-ventricular pacemaker/defibrillator placed.

Eating right, resistance training, and running was a daily part of my life prior to my diagnosis. It was noted that I probably did not notice the heart failure symptoms because I was in such good physical condition. This probably led to the advanced condition.

The ejection fraction (EF) is the measure of the left ventricles pumping strength, it’s the percentage of blood pumped out of the left ventricle on each beat. Normal EF is between 50% and 70%. An echo in January 2009 showed an EF of 30%. An echo in January 2010 showed an EF of 20%. The echo’s note “severely reduced left ventricular systolic function…”

“I was hoping to improve my EF to somewhere in the 30% range, it seemed to be a comfort zone for me. To hear that my EF had improved to 40% was far above my expectations.”

I am under the care of Dr. Heroux at Loyola Medical near Chicago Illinois. My feelings were, at that point that things were slowly, or not so slowly, getting to a point where I really needed to do something other than “manage” my heart failure. So now what? What do I do? My mother had come across an article in the Houston newspaper about heart issues and stem cells. So I started researching and found ICM, Cell Medicine/The Stem Cell Institute, and decided to “take a chance”. I had a great deal of support from family and friends, without whom this would not have happened. This chance that I chose to take was stem cell therapy.

In April 2010 I went to ICM in Costa Rica and found everything there exceeded my expectations. They met us at the airport, they ensured our accommodations were taken care of, they had a driver for us every day. They were incredibly professional. The facilities were better than expected; we went on a very impressive tour of the lab. Marcela Potts was in charge and she handled everything for us, without flaw. I could go on and on. I had five days of stem cell treatments from April 26th through April 30th. The staff and medical personnel were terrific. They really were professional and to me they easily met any expected standards.

I had an appointment with Dr. Heroux on July 12th, ten weeks after my stem cell therapy, and he asked me to get an echo that day. It seemed a bit unusual, but he has my trust. They called a few hours later and told me my echo had been read and that the EF was now at 40%, “a big improvement”. It’s not easy to measure the improvement when it comes to heart failure from a personal standpoint. Reading it through an echo is one thing but to determine change can’t really be measured like a thermometer, you can’t read the temperature on the scale. After only ten weeks I am reluctant to make any real claims to improvement, but I do have to admit I am feeling better overall. I have far less bouts of tiredness. I can go all day without serious palpitations the rest of the night.

I was really hoping that the stem cells would take and that it would be enough to improve my condition some. I was hoping to improve my EF to somewhere in the 30% range, it seemed to be a comfort zone for me. To hear that my EF had improved to 40% was far above my expectations. It has only been ten weeks so we have a long way to go before a real determination is made. So far so very good!”


2012-12-03T22:05:19+00:00December 3rd, 2012|Heart Disease, Patient Stories|

Making Blood Cells into Heart Cells

Vojdani et al. Hum Cell. 2011 Mar;24(1):35-42
One of the major debates in the area of stem cell therapy is whether adult stem cells are capable of directly transforming (differentiating) into new tissue, or whether the therapeutic effects of administered stem cells occur because of growth factors produced by the injected stem cells. There are supporting data for both possibilities. The direct differentiation of adult stem cells into damaged tissue is supported by studies showing donor-derived adult tissue formed in patients treated. However in many situations that amount of new tissue found is relatively small. Supporting the “growth factor” hypothesis are numerous studies showing that administration of the tissue culture media that the stem cells have been grown in is capable of eliciting therapeutic effects.
Besides adult stem cells differentiating into other cells, there is some belief that other cells of the body are capable of this “transdifferenetiation” ability. For example, there was some work suggesting that B cells are capable of transforming into monocytes. There is some similarity between memory T and B cells with stem cells in that both of them express telomerase in a similar manner as stem cells. Therefore it would be interesting to see if B or T cells may express potential for differentiation into other cells. This is what was investigated in a recent paper (Vojdani et al. Cardiomyocyte marker expression in a human lymphocyte cell line using mouse cardiomyocyte extract. Hum Cell. 2011 Mar;24(1):35-42)
The investigators used a human B cell line called Raji. These cells are immortalized, therefore they may express some of the properties associated with pluripotency. What I mean is that generally cancer cells seem to start reexpressing proteins associated with “earlier” cells and possibly stem cells. For example, cancer cells are known to start re-expressing embryonic stem cell markers such as Oct-4 (Huang et al. Med Oncol. 2011 May 1).
Usually stem cells are made to differentiate into various tissues by exposing them to extracts of the cells that you want them to become. By extracts is usually meant the protein content of the cells after breaking up the cells either through freeze-thaw, sonication, or hypotonic lysis. In the current experiment the Raji cells were “retrodifferentiated” by treatment with 5-azacytidine, which is a DNA methylase inhibitor, as well as the HDAC inhibitor trichostatin A. These chemicals act to remove methylation of the cells, as well as to “open up” the histones by allowing for histone acetylation, respectively. To these undifferentiated cells the extracts from mouse heart cells were added. An interesting method of adding the extracts was used. The cell membrane was temporarily permeabilized and the extracts were added.
After 10 days, 3, and 4 weeks the cells started adhering and expressed a morphology similar to heart cells. Interestingly the cells stated expressing myosin heavy chain, α-actinin and cardiac troponin T after 3 and 4 weeks. Flow cytometry confirmed these data. In cells exposed to trichostatin A and 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine and permeabilized in the presence of the cardiomyocyte extract, troponin T expression was seen in 3.53% of the cells and 3.11% of them expressed α-actinin. These data suggest that pluripotency may be expressed by cells other than conventional stem cells. These experiments are similar to those performed by Collas’ group who demonstrated that administration of cytoplasm from Jurkat T cells to fibroblasts is capable of inducing the transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into cells that express T cell receptor and are capable of secreting IL-2 in response to ligation of the T cell receptor. This reminds us of the opposite of reprogramming by nuclear transfer (eg cloning).

2012-03-31T19:56:18+00:00March 31st, 2012|Heart Disease, News, Stem Cell Research|

New stem cell study promises to heal the heart

Miami Herald, Fred Tasker ftasker@MiamiHerald.com
University of Miami cardiologist led by Dr. Joshua Hare reported success in a small, preliminary human clinical trial of a new stem cell therapy they hope some day will routinely mend human hearts and reduce the need for lifelong medication, possibly even for transplants. The study was published in the peer reviewed journal Circulation Research (Williams et al. Circ Res. 2011 Apr 1;108(7):792-6.).
In the study eight patients of approximately 57.2±13.3 years of age received transendocardial, intramyocardial injection of their own (autologous) bone marrow stem cells (mononuclear or mesenchymal stem cells) in left ventrical scar and border zone. All patients who underwent the procedure had no serious adverse events. Cardiac MRI at 1 year demonstrated a decrease in end diastolic volume (208.7±20.4 versus 167.4±7.32 mL; P=0.03), a trend toward decreased end systolic volume (142.4±16.5 versus 107.6±7.4 mL; P=0.06), decreased infarct size (P<0.05), and improved regional LV function. This study is different than previous studies performed by Dr. Hare’s group that used stem cell administration intravenously. The belief is that directly placing the stem cells into the heart muscle may cause better therapeutic effects as compared to injection intravenously and letting them home to where they need to be. “That’s the Holy Grail, the quest the whole field has been pursuing for close to a decade, and this is evidence we’re on the right track,” said Dr. Joshua Hare. He did, however, emphasize that the current trial is only a small, run-up phase of extensive testing that will take up to five years and involve dozens of hospitals and hundreds of patients before obtaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for routine use. The trial was primarily about the safety of the procedure, and all eight patients came through without significant side effects, he said. The procedure also reduced the size of hearts swollen by previous heart attacks, a condition called cardiomyopathy or simply heart failure. Max Eaton, the 68-year-old direct-buy franchise owner who was patient No.1 said that he is thankful he was part of the trial, adding that he had just completed a 2.8-mile, 41-minute walk around his neighborhood in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. “I feel very grateful,” he said. “Almost certainly, I would be deceased or in much worse shape had I not had the opportunity to be in this program.” Eaton’s part of the testing is finished. He says he’s glad he took part, even though it hasn’t quite turned him into an Olympic runner. “I still get chest pains at times. It depends on the time of year. I had my heart attack 11 years ago in the fall. That’s when I get them,” he said. But he adds: “I’m not ready to go. I’ll keep going as long as I can enjoy what’s to be enjoyed.” An explanation of stem cell clinical trials for heart failure may be seen at in one of our videos, presented on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfSdCYFNdPw

2012-03-17T20:13:28+00:00March 17th, 2012|Clinical Trials, Heart Disease, News, Stem Cell Research|

Rare Heart Defect Reproduced in Petri Dish, Hope for Cure

Dr. Ananya Mandal, MD

A team of researchers has created beating heart cells in the lab using skin cells of children with a rare heart defect. The team, led by Ricardo Dolmetsch of Stanford University took skin cells from children with Timothy syndrome, a rare heart condition commonly associated with autism, as well as syndactyly (webbing of fingers and toes).

The process the team underwent included reprogramming the stem cells and then developing them into cardiac cells in order to have a human model to test on, instead of mice models. “Because every cell in our body has the same genetic programming, that means we can take skin cells and reprogram them to generate stem cells, and we can take those cells to make heart cells,” said Dolmetsch.

Once the heart cells were developed, the team then used them to test several heart rhythm drugs. Unfortunately, none of the drugs initially tested corrected the heart problems associated with Timothy syndrome. However, further research and testing resulted in the discovery of the success of a cancer compound roscovitine, which is now in phase 2 clinical trials. Dolmetsch added that “The potential is really large”, Stanford has applied for patents on this technology and several drug companies have expressed interest in this research.

2012-02-13T20:30:05+00:00February 13th, 2012|Heart Disease, News, Stem Cell Research|