Stem cell therapy for Osteoarthritis: Sheri Nahan

Where do you live and when were you diagnosed with osteoarthritis

I live in Stamford, CT. My osteoarthritis was diagnosed in the last two years but I have had pain in the bursa – periformis and lower back, off and on for many years and tried many treatments.

How did your arthritis progress and what were your symptoms before coming to Panama for stem cell therapy?

I was told in May of 2009 – after x-rays, that I have severe arthritis in the right hip and bad arthritis in the left hip. However, by taking Advil I was able to play golf throughout the summer of 2009, but the pain became too intense in 2010 to play golf and do other tasks. Even putting on socks was a problem. I had to physically pull my leg up with my hands. I had pain in the bursa – periformis – gluteus maximus and other muscular areas which was about an 8 on a scale from 1-10. Some days were better than others and the weather was also a factor. It was especially difficult on stairs and inclines. In addition, there was sometimes lower back pain of differing intensities but not as bad as the pain in my hip region. I tried many therapies, injections, and topical medications, some of which had short term response and others that did nothing.

“I have seen very good improvement since my stem cell treatment and I continue to improve.”

How has your condition improved since undergoing stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis?

I have seen very good improvement since my stem cell treatment and I continue to improve. I can put my shoes and socks on with a minimum of discomfort. I can sit at the computer for long periods of time with no pain. Walking up the steps is much improved. I am beginning to use both feet to step up instead of using just one and dragging the other. My energy level is very good.

Has your doctor confirmed your improvements?

So far, Dr. Zabrecky (my doctor) is pleased with my progress. He has had to adjust my back and neck the last few weeks because I have had aching in my lower back and tightness in my neck and shoulders.I was very pleased with the staff and doctors at the clinic. I was treated very well by the staff with special commendation to Dr. Paz and Dr. Caballero.

What did you think about the clinic? The doctors? The Staff? Panama in general?

I was very pleased with the staff and doctors at the clinic.

It is intimidating to go to another country for a medical treatment. Since you ask these kinds of questions, I am sure you will continue formulating the best procedures to make the patients even more comfortable. I believe it takes a lot of belief in the doctor or friend who recommends using stems, in my case Dr. George Zabrecky, to believe that this treatment will work. I think that the more data and testimonials that you collect, the more confidence a patient will have.

As we have discussed before, there are many patients who do not speak Spanish and there are some instances where it is necessary to have a translator which will greatly ease the stress level of being in a foreign country. This is more than doubly stressful because it involves medical treatments. We enjoyed being in Panama and would gladly visit again.

Would you recommend this to other patients?

I would definitely recommend others for treatment.

2012-12-05T16:44:29+00:00December 5th, 2012|Osteoarthritis, Patient Stories|

Stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis: Juan Gramage

Reactive arthritis

“I could tell you a long story because the experience of having a chronic illness is a tragic and distasteful novel. Almost 4 years ago I began to feel fatigue and pain in my peripheral joints, especially the big ones. The pain was migrating and intensifying every day. I tried many ways to cure myself: synthetic drugs, natural drugs, special diets…

Three or four months ago I received the stem cell treatment and the results have been positive. My pain hasn´t disappeared completely buy I feel that the improvements I felt initially is continuing to strengthen, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and today I can go out. Also I have the confidence that this is the ultimate solution to the pain in my joints.

“I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and today I can go out…”

The first weeks after the injections I felt that the strong pains were decreasing day by day and a month later I felt no more discomfort, the episodes have almost disappeared and I am working with the body feeling new, or at least 75%. I feel better, much better and I believe that if there exists a treatment that is cohesive and successful and still doesn´t harm your health, this is it.

I am deeply touched that new technologies can cure and alleviate the suffering of so many people and at the same time the researches that control the funds of investigation and treatments of these technologies, accountants, administrators and funding-related policy research and treatments, to make this treatment accessible the majority. I have no doubt that health should be a universal right.

If you don´t believe me, talk to be after you suffered through a similar illness. Thanks to all the restless minds that have contributed to these advances.”

2012-12-05T16:36:07+00:00December 5th, 2012|Osteoarthritis, Patient Stories|

Enhancing Efficacy of Bone Marrow Transplant

Huang et al. Blood. [Epub ahead of print]

Bone marrow transplantation has cured many patients of hematological diseases such as leukemias and lymphomas. Additionally, bone marrow transplantation is becoming used more and more in treatment of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, there are still numerous limitations to this procedure. One of the biggest ones is that occurrence of graft versus host disease, in which the transplanted stem cells produce immune cells that attack the recipient. The other major problem is graft failure, in which the transplanted stem cells do not “take”.

The group of Dr. Ildstad from the University of Louisville has been working on enhancing bone marrow transplantation by co-administration of other cells called “facilitator cells.” In a recent publication (Huang et al. CD8{alpha}+ plasmacytoid precursor DC induce antigen-specific regulatory T cells that enhance HSC engraftment in vivo. Blood. 2010 Dec 29) it was shown that a type of dendritic cell, called the plasmacytoid dendritic cell, is capable of promoting bone marrow transplant efficacy through stimulation of T regulatory cells.

The scientists demonstrated that after bone marrow transplant from mismatched donors, there are immune suppressive cells, called T regulatory cells, that develop under specific conditions that stop the new (donor derived) immune system cells from attacking the recipient. When a mismatched bone marrow transplant is performed together with plasmacytoid dendritic cells, these cells “instruct” the donor immune system to generate T regulatory cells, which prevent graft versus host disease.

Implications of this research may be profound in areas outside of bone marrow transplantation for leukemias. In solid organ transplants, patients are required to take life-long immune suppressants to prevent the transplanted organ from being rejected. If donor bone marrow transplantation is performed with the donor organ, then the body does not reject the organ. Unfortunately this is not possible because bone marrow transplantation has a high risk of graft versus host disease. If the discovery of Dr. Ilstad’s group can be translated to humans, it may be possible to induce “immunological tolerance”, which is a state of immune un-responsiveness to the transplanted organ, while maintaining a functioning immune system towards pathogens and bacteria.

2010-12-29T21:23:31+00:00December 29th, 2010|Adult Stem Cells, Bone Marrow, News, Stem Cell Research|