Archives for the month of: January, 2013

We believe they’re for patients who want to get well.

The most famous precursor to modern stem cell therapy was pioneered by Dr. E. Donnall Thomas in 1956, when he treated a case of juvenile leukemia by completely replacing the child’s bone marrow. His risky, painful, and complex experiment immediately became associated with children and leukemia.

But Dr. Thomas’s experiment should not be associated with modern stem cell therapies any more than Civil War hospitals should be confused with modern ones, or than Mathew Brady’s photography should be confused with digital cameras. Even so, sales agents for other stem cell techniques have been heard to disparage autologous bone marrow techniques by suggesting this anachronistic association.

To be fair, every technique in practice has its advantages. Stem cells are easier and cheaper to harvest from peripheral blood or body fat. Stem cells purchased from specialist labs allow the doctor to rely on a third-party laboratory for research and quality control. And stem cells from bone marrow, when properly prepared, are more vital and effective than those from other sources.

Bone marrow stems cells are not very popular with a lot of clinics because they require more skill to harvest, they require specialized equipment to prepare, and require the doctors involved to invest themselves personally in research and development. We at ProgenCell believe these disadvantages are acceptable when balanced against the superior medical care we are thereby enabled to give our patients.

Photo by Mathew Brady

Mathew B. Brady (ca. 1822 – January 15, 1896) was one of the most celebrated 19th century American photographers, best known for his documentation of the American Civil War.

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Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs speech and other motor functions. Its symptoms include muscle rigidity, tremors, and the slowing of physical movement to a total loss of physical movement in the worst cases. Secondary symptoms may include autonomic, cognitive, and linguistic impairment. Parkinson’s disease is chronic, progressive, and unpredictable, developing quickly or over as many as twenty years, depending on the patient.

Although Parkinson’s is not fatal, it becomes debilitating over time and requires broad-based management involving education for both patient and family, support groups, general wellness protocols, exercise, nutrition, and physiotherapy. It has no known cure; current therapies address some of the symptoms with medication (involving adverse side effects) and surgery in order to make the patient more comfortable.

Research over the last decade has shown that stem cell therapies, when applied properly, can slow and even stop the progress of many neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease. ProgenCell’s therapy for this condition consists of elevating the number of fresh, non-manipulated stem cells in the patient’s bloodstream and brain cavity. These cells duplicate themselves and transform into new cells to replace damaged tissue and nerves and to rejuvenate the connections between neurons.

Because ProgenCell’s therapy repairs damaged nerve tissue and regenerates the neurological system, our patients can expect to see, at the very least, a slowing of the progress of the illness. Our previous patients have reported improvements both physical (increased energy, stronger walk, diminished rigidity, regained balance, improvements in speech, writing, and reading) and psychological (relief from depression and sleep difficulties). Some of our patients even have experienced a complete remission of their condition.

Patients who are treated in earlier stages of the disease can expect the best results, so it’s important to contact ProgenCell and start recovering from Parkinson’s today.

Retinitis pigmentosa is the name given to a group of genetic, usually hereditary, disorders of the retina. (The retina is the part of the eye that converts light to nerve impulses.) About one in 3500 people suffer from retinitis pigmentosa throughout the world. It is a progressive disease ending in tunnel vision or complete blindness and for which there is no known cure. Traditional treatments have been palliative, that is, they attempt to make the patient accept their inevitable fate.

Patients become aware of their retinitis pigmentosa usually with the onset of night blindness, often during childhood. After that, they experience a loss of peripheral vision and then a gradual loss in their abilities to drive cars, to read, and to recognize faces. Retinitis pigmentosa can also occur in connection with Usher, Barde-Biedl, Refsum, and NARP (neuropathy, ataxia, and retinitis pigmentosa) syndromes.

Compared vision Normal (above), tunnel vision (below)

Compared vision Normal (above), tunnel vision (below)

Current treatments have been desperate: avoid sunlight and take dangerously high dosages of Vitamin A. This has not improved the prognosis; in fact, it rarely improves the present circumstances.

Experimental treatments include gene therapy, retinal transplantation, and retinal prosthesis. There are more than sixty genes related to retinitis pigmentosa, so that approach has been hit-or-miss. Retinal transplantation requires a recently deceased donor whose retina is compatible with the patient. Retinal prosthesis means surgically implanting the sort of mechanism that the Six-Million-Dollar Man made famous. None of these experimental treatments has been terribly successful.

On the other hand, Dr. Norma Niño has been applying autologous stem cells to this problem since 2005 and her results have been very promising. “In the worst case,” she says, “the patient’s condition is arrested; in the best case, the patient has experienced total recovery.”

Steven, a patient from the United States, has allowed us to report his experience with Dr. Niño and ProgenCell. He was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in November 2010. After two visits, he wrote us to say: “I went to three different doctors who said there is no treatment for my condition. So I kept looking on the Internet and found ProgenCell. Some of my family and friends were against my decision, but we all knew it was the only chance for improvement. The procedures went much quicker than I expected and I had no pain. Never had side effects. This is my second procedure and have had quite a bit of improvement. I am able to do things I used to have to quit. Now I see better, clearer, broader vision. All of my friends and family are excited about my progress, they all think is wonderful that this treatment is available. I would recommend that other patients to give it a try!”

If you or a loved one suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, start the recovery today by contacting ProgenCell for a free case evaluation. The sooner you get started, the better your results will be.

In adults, stem cells are created in the bone marrow and then distributed to the rest of the body through the blood system. It stands to reason that stem cells might be harvested from either location, but there is an important difference both in quantity and in quality between the stem cells found at the source and those found on the periphery of the body.

Bone marrow creates the full range of stem cells – stromal stem cells, which can become bone, cartilage, and fat, as well as hematopoietic stem cells, which become parts of the blood such as platelets and red corpuscles. Stem cells from bone marrow can be used by any part of the body because they contain that full spectrum.

Stem cells derived from the patient’s peripheral blood, on the other hand, offer only a narrow spectrum that repair mostly soft tissues and have produced only “promising but inconsistent” results in clinical trials. In order for this PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatment to be therapeutic, the stem cells in the patient’s blood must first be concentrated and then returned to the patient’s body.

Bone-marrow stem cells and PRP share the advantage of being autologous – they are the patient’s own stem cells – so there is no danger of cellular incompatibility. PRP treatment has another advantage in that it can be performed in any doctor’s office relatively inexpensively. Consequently, the biotech industry has been marketing PRP workstations to individual doctors as a lucrative in-office service.

For a PRP treatment, blood is extracted from the patient and then centrifuged to remove the red blood cells and other material, leaving the platelets at about five times their normal concentration. The patient’s platelets are then returned intravenously. The patient does not receive any more platelets than were taken out, but their concentration in the blood stream is somewhat higher than usual because the rest of the plasma has been removed. Hence the inconsistent results found in clinical trials.

On the other hand, when stem cells are harvested from bone marrow, the body is stimulated to replace what it lost such that it winds up producing more stem cells than before. Patients receiving additional bone marrow stem cells not only gets the freshest and most effective stem cells their bodies can create, they have the additional advantage of having greater numbers of stem cells circulating throughout their bodies in general.

These differences are very important to ProgenCell’s patients, who can count on receiving the most effective therapy available. For the sake of our patients, we will not take shortcuts. Throughout the twelve years of operation and across more than five hundred patients, ProgenCell is proud to say that there has not been even one complication.

Peripheral blood content.

Peripheral blood content.

Luis Romero Guerra, M.D., the president of the ProgenCell ethics committee, and Norma Niño Sulkowska, M.D., ProgenCell’s staff ophthalmologist, were invited by Tijuana Innovadora to present “Vanguard of Medicine: Stem Cells in Ophthalmology” on 16 October 2012. By way of introduction, they were praised as stem cell pioneers by Patricia Aubanel, M.D., the cardiologist who achieved international recognition when she saved Mother Teresa’s life with an experimental stent.

In their half-hour presentation, Dr. Romero began by describing the various possible sources of stem cells, explaining why those from the bone marrow are generally preferable, reviewing ProgenCell’s therapeutic procedures for appropriate medical conditions, and discussing the prognoses that can be expected from ProgenCell’s therapies.

Citing the requests of her American patients as the motivation for her use of stem cell therapy, Dr. Niño then detailed the work she has been doing since 2005 for diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa. Each of these three conditions can result in blindness, which orthodox treatments are unable to prevent. In stark and optimistic contrast, the results in Dr. Niño’s cases have varied from arresting the progress of the disease, in the least successful of cases, to total remission, in the most successful.

Barely twelve months ago, the University of California San Diego opened their $127,000,000 stem cell research center to a blitz of media hoopla. And yet, just a few miles down the road, ProgenCell had already spent more than a decade quietly bringing stem cells to patients who need them. What might explain such a contrast?

Significant medical discoveries utilizing embryonic stem cells were made during the Clinton presidency that frightened some ethicists and raised concerns about abortion and cloning. The next president, George W

running late

. Bush, made a great deal of noise vetoing Congressional attempts to fund stem cell research based on his interpretation of where embryonic stem cells might come from. The result, at least as far as medical research in the United States has been concerned, has been a semantic confusion, within public opinion, of devastating proportions. Stem cell therapy really has nothing to do with abortion nor with human cloning – it has to do with helping a patient’s body heal itself – yet public opinion condemned those medical advances to purgatory for twelve years.

So now the United States is trying to play catch-up with the rest of the world. New research centers receive massive investment in order to validate the rest of the world’s work. What they’re hoping to do is to offer the same services we’ve been offering … only at U.S. prices plus a surcharge to offset their start-up costs.

There is no reason to wait for your local clinic to get up to speed. If you have a degenerative condition, it ought to be addressed immediately. Start your recovery today by contacting ProgenCell for a complimentary evaluation of your case.

 

The German word for “hospital” gives us the unvarnished truth: Krankenhaus, the place where sick people dwell. Its very purpose is to collect up every sort of medical problem and let them stew together. You will find more germs and viruses and bacteria there than you will on a city street, which is why hospital administrators are at pains to sanitize as much as they can. But all the jellied alcohol and all the Phisohex and all the HEPA filters will only catch bugs after the fact and every time someone comes into the hospital they bring fresh sources of infection. Hygiene in a hospital is a daunting task.

Hospitals located at international crossroads also have to worry about international hygiene. In the outbreak of the so-called swine flu a couple of years ago, for example, San Diego gave Tijuana the H1N1 virus – and it was found in one of Tijuana’s hospitals.

ProgenCell has been offered several opportunities to locate in prestigious hospitals but we chose to create our own controlled environment out of concern for our patients. Not only do we apply international hospital sanitation procedures every day, we also don’t practice “open” surgery: therefore, by not sharing our operating room with surgeons who do, we limit the risk of airborne infection tremendously. And, since we treat conditions that tend not to be infectious, we protect our staff and our patients by practicing in our own quiet clinic away from the hustle and bustle of hospitals.

We don’t want to seem overly critical of hospitals. They’re the right place to go if your doctor needs to cut you open or you need a prolonged stay. For stem cell therapy, on the other hand, we believe that our clinic is the best environment.

Risks inside hospitals

Risks inside hospitals

One of the usual complications of diabetes is the breakdown of the blood vessels that feed the retina, which is the part of the eye that processes images. Retinopathy occurs when blood leaks out of those vessels into the eye, causing blurred vision and ultimately blindness. Eighty percent of all patients who have suffered from diabetes for ten years develop diabetic retinopathy as a consequence.

There are three traditional treatments for retinopathy. They are all rear-guard actions. Laser surgery destroys the malformed, leaky blood vessels and leaves most of the good blood vessels intact. Unfortunately, though, diabetes is what creates the malformed blood vessels, so the good ones continue to be outnumbered well after surgery. Chemical treatments injected into the vitreous cavity, where the leaked blood collects, will clear up the patient’s vision temporarily, but that requires four to twelve injections per year and causes several unpleasant side effects. And, finally, there is the surgical removal of bloody vitreous material, which also provides only temporary relief despite its invasiveness.

The ProgenCell approach comes closest to being a solution. It has had no side effects and, because it is directed at creating healthy blood vessels, is not intended to be an infinite treatment. In this therapy, the patient’s own stem cells are infused around the eye and placed into the bloodstream. Depending on the severity of the condition, the therapy may be repeated every four months for up to a year. By doing so, not only reinforces the blood vessels but the eye is able to create healthy retinal tissues and to replace damaged receptors.

Mary from Colorado, one of ProgenCell’s patients, was treated for advanced diabetes along with retinopathy during 2010 and 2011. After three treatments, she wrote, “I am so excited. No aches and pains, I move much faster, like when I was thirty years old. My blood work showed that my diabetes is gone. And my eyesight, which I started to lose a long time ago, has come back.”

If you are concerned about the progress of your diabetic retinopathy, begin your recovery today by contacting ProgenCell for a complimentary evaluation. The sooner you get started, the better your results will be.

 

Healthy eye, healthy vision

Healthy eye, healthy vision

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