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Are you or a loved one interested in receiving stem cell treatment? For free information, please fill out our treatment form or email me don@repairstemcells.org and just put TREATMENT in the subject box and the MEDICAL CONDITION in the message.
Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital (Texas), CBR launch US FDA approved stem cells study to treat sensorineural hearing loss with patient's own stored Umbilical Cord Stem Cells.

Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and Cord Blood Registry (CBR) are launching the first US FDA-approved, phase I safety study on the use of cord blood stem cells to treat children with sensorineural hearing loss.
The study, which will use patients’ stem cells from their own stored umbilical cord blood, is the first-of-its-kind, and has the potential to restore hearing. This follows evidence from published laboratory studies that cord blood helps repair damaged organs in the inner ear.
The year-long study will follow 10 children, ages 6 weeks to 18 months, who have sustained post-birth hearing loss. Children who are deaf as a result of a genetic anomaly or syndrome are not eligible. To ensure consistency in cord blood stem cell processing, storage, and release for infusion, CBR is the only stem cell bank providing clients for the study.
“Children only have 18 months to acquire language skills and, if a child does not hear well, they will not acquire the language skills to speak normally,” said James Baumgartner, MD, sponsor of the study and guest research collaborator at The University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School.
Parents will be interviewed by phone to determine eligibility of their children for the study. Those who meet the criteria will be admitted to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital to undergo a series of blood tests, hearing and speech tests, and an MRI that will view the tracts that send signals from the inner ear to the brain.
The Principal Investigator is Samer Fakhri, MD, surgeon at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Centre and associate professor and program director in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery at UTHealth. Linda Baumgartner, MS, CCC-SLP, Auditory-Verbal Therapist, is a co-investigator.
“Currently, the only treatment options for sensorineural hearing loss are hearing aids or cochlear implants,” Dr Fakhri said. “We hope that this study will open avenues to additional treatment options for hearing loss in children.”
Researchers will obtain and process the patients’ stored cord blood for treatment. The cells then will be given to the patients via IV infusion, and patients will be observed for several hours in the hospital.
Patients will return to the hospital to repeat all tests except the MRI at one month and one year, and all tests with an MRI at six months.
“This study is exciting because it might offer a non-surgical option for some children with profound loss,” Linda Baumgartner said. “More importantly, this is the first treatment with the potential to restore normal hearing.”
Since more infants are surviving premature birth, physicians and researchers are seeing a rising number of very young children with significant hearing loss. About 15 per cent of children in the US also suffer from low-frequency or high-frequency hearing loss that can impact the child’s speech, language, and social development and can increase their risk of developing learning disabilities, according to Dr Fakhri.
“We share Dr Fakhri’s and Dr Baumgartner’s passion and commitment to understanding more about the potential applications of cord blood to help repair nerve tissue,” said Heather Brown, vice president of scientific and medical affairs at CBR. “It is exciting to be at the forefront of research to match children who have cord blood stored, with this team of groundbreaking doctors studying autologous stem cell therapies for hearing loss.”
Posted: 1/16/2012 1:56:34 PM by Don Margolis | with 0 comments

Are you or a loved one interested in receiving stem cell treatment? For free information, please fill out our treatment form or email me don@repairstemcells.org and just put TREATMENT in the subject box and the MEDICAL CONDITION in the message.
Surgeons in Sweden have replaced the cancerous windpipe of a Maryland man with one made in a laboratory and seeded with the man’s cells.


Thomas Grosse/Harvard Bioscience
A trachea made from plastic, above, and seeded with stem cells was successfully implanted in a Baltimore man in Sweden.

The windpipe, or trachea, made from minuscule plastic fibers and covered instem cells taken from the man’s bone marrow, was implanted in November. The patient, Christopher Lyles, 30, whose tracheal cancer had progressed to the point where it was considered inoperable, arrived home in Baltimore on Wednesday. It was the second procedure of its kind and the first for an American.

“I’m feeling good,” Mr. Lyles said in a telephone interview from his home, where he was playing with his 4-year-old daughter. “I’m just thankful for a second chance at life.” He said he hoped to resume his job, as an electrical engineer with the Department of Defense, as soon as he regained full strength.

“He went home in very good shape,” said Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, director of the Advanced Center for Translational Regenerative Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Dr. Macchiarini is a leader in the field of tissue engineering, in which the goal is to produce replacement tissues and organs outside the body. Research in the field has undergone a resurgence in recent years because of advances in understanding stem cells — undifferentiated cells that can proliferate and be induced to become cells of a specific type of tissue.

“What we did is surgically remove his malignant tumor,” Dr. Macchiarini said. “Then we replaced the trachea with this tissue-engineered scaffold.” The Y-shaped scaffold, fashioned from nano-size fibers of a type of plastic called PET that is commonly used in soda bottles, was seeded with stem cells from Mr. Lyles’s bone marrow. It was then placed in a bioreactor — a shoebox-size container holding the stem cells in solution — and rotated like a rotisserie chicken to allow the cells to soak in.

After two days, it was installed in Mr. Lyles during an elaborate operation in which it was sutured to his throat and lungs. All told, the treatment cost about $450,000, Mr. Lyles said.

David Green, the president of Harvard Bioscience, the Massachusetts company that made the bioreactor, said that once the cells were inside the scaffold, they began to grow and divide and produce cartilage. “After two or three days, I think you can realistically call it tissue,” he said.

While special compounds called transcription factors were used to help force the stem cells to differentiate into trachea-specific cells, Dr. Macchiarini said that once the windpipe was implanted the cells continued to grow and differentiate, presumably because of chemical signals produced by the body. “We’re using the human body as a bioreactor to promote regeneration,” he said.

Because Mr. Lyles’s own cells were used, there is no need for drugs to prevent his body from rejecting the windpipe, which is a common problem in transplants using donated organs.

But Alan O. Trounson, the president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, said that although rejection would not be a problem, the body responds to any foreign object, often by trying to encapsulate it. While he described Dr. Macchiarini’s work as “terrific,” he said he was not sure how long such a transplant could be expected to last.

“It looks very functional at this stage,” Dr. Trounson said. “But there’s going to be a reaction of some kind.” More work will probably be needed to develop scaffold materials that are optimized to reduce the response, he added.

Dr. Macchiarini has performed a dozen trachea transplants since 2008, but the first 10 used organs from cadavers in which all the living cells were removed, leaving behind a natural scaffold of cartilage. Donated tracheas are rare, however, and are never a perfect fit. In Mr. Lyle’s case, and in the case of an Eritrean man who received a similar transplant last June and is doing well, the synthetic scaffold is made using CT scans of the existing trachea to ensure it matches precisely.

The field of tissue engineering has gone through periods of boom and bust, as predictions that companies would one day be fabricating hearts and other complex organs have not come close to fruition. But there have been successes with simpler tissues like skin — a few products are on the market — and with another organ, the bladder, which, like the trachea, is relatively simple. Researchers at Wake Forest University have successfully built tissue-engineered bladders and transplanted them into patients with spina bifida.
Posted: 1/13/2012 3:13:57 PM by Don Margolis | with 0 comments

Are you or a loved one interested in receiving stem cell treatment? For free information, please fill out our treatment form or email me don@repairstemcells.org and just put TREATMENT in the subject box and the MEDICAL CONDITION in the message.
UNIV. HAWAII Assoc. Professor: "I'm Learning How To Live"

HONOLULU -- About a year ago, KITV first told the story of a University of Hawaii associate professor diagnosed with three rare autoimmune diseases.
Cristy Kessler was living with pain every day and was, in her words, "preparing to die." But after undergoing experimental stem cell treatment overseas, she's now learning how to live.
Just a mere nine months ago, a walk down the block wasn't possible.
"The pain was so intense, I was on morphine and vicadin around the clock, everyday," said Kessler.

Although the 40-year-old didn't look sick, her body was basically attacking itself from three different autoimmune diseases: Scleroderma, Vasculitis, and Akylosing Spondylitis.
Stem cell transplant was an option to stop the diseases progress, but it's not yet approved by the FDA and not covered by insurance in the United States. Kessler finally found help overseas.
Dr. Zafer Gulbas of Anadolou Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey performed the stem cell transplant in March 2010. It was a grueling 2-month long procedure of blood tests, intense chemotherapy and isolation.
"Her disease was in the early phase of the scleroderma. Because of the transplantation, it helped her," said Gulbas.

Gulbas said treating the disease early ensures better success with stem cell transplant. Kessler still takes antibiotics and with an immune system like that of a newborn baby, she has to be extra careful not to get sick. But she's no longer on prescription pain medications.
Stem cell transplant is still considered experimental - it's long term effects not yet known. But for people like Kessler, it's given her a new life right now.

"I really want to enjoy the music and look like a fool dancing and sound terrible when I sing, but have fun doing it and not be in pain," said Kessler.

She is now preparing to go back to work full time in a couple of months.

"I got a second chance. I got a do-over and I need to make the best of it and I need to pay it forward," said Kessler.

Donations from friends and co-workers and a hefty loan helped pay for Kessler's stem cell procedure.
Posted: 1/12/2012 3:03:39 PM by Don Margolis | with 0 comments

Are you or a loved one interested in receiving stem cell treatment? For free information, please fill out our treatment form or email me don@repairstemcells.org and just put TREATMENT in the subject box and the MEDICAL CONDITION in the message.

Charlie DeJong and some of the devoted nursing staff at the clinic in China

IROQUOIS — Their deep belief that the future can indeed be brighter for six-year-old Charlie, took the family of Matthew and Kelly DeJong thousands of kilometres around the globe to China, in the early fall of 2011.

“Charlie has cerebral palsy,” said mother, Kelly DeJong. “However, his long term prognosis at age six was very poor.”

Charlie had no independent functions. He was unable to chew and swallow solid food, which meant that he would probably have to be attached to a feeding tube in the near future. Spastic muscles refused him the ability to sit up independently, walk or speak. He was unable to regulate his circulatory system, suffering extremes of cold and heat. He could not control his eyes well enough to focus on many things.

“Yet Charlie is a healthy, happy little guy,” his mother said. “We wanted to give him better opportunities. We hoped for any improvement in his quality of life.”
Through the year-long efforts of neighbours, family, businesses, service groups (including the Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club) churches and the simple generosity of caring strangers, the family was able to raise the $50,000 needed to pay for the out-of-country treatments.
On July 14, Charlie and his mother, along with cousin Hanke DeJong Thompson, left Ottawa on the first leg of a journey that would take them to Vancouver, then to Hong Kong and finally to Qingdao, mainland China. Father Matthew and siblings Abigail and Thomas joined Charlie and Kelly in China for the final two weeks of the six weeks of treatments.

During those challenging weeks, the doctors kept Charlie on a series of treatments that would have been tough on an adult, let alone a small boy.

He received his first two stem cell treatments through IVs, but the next six were delivered through spinal injections, two a week, under general anaesthesia. This was ultimately very hard on him: a decision was made to give his last two injections intravenously. 

He faced intensive deep tissue massage, acupuncture treatments and electric wave therapy every day. 

A foot ball player from Canada, also undergoing spinal cell treatments,  actually refused any further spinal injections after the first. “Later he told us that Charlie was the bravest kid in the hospital,” Kelly said.

On her second day in China, Kelly slipped on the “beautiful but lethal” granite walkways around the hospital and broke her foot.  

To Charlie’s “mortification, I ended up on the same table as him, getting therapy on my foot as he was receiving it on his arms and legs,” Kelly recalled, laughing. 

The DeJongs learned there are some profound differences between Eastern and Western methods of treatment.

 “In China, symptoms are treated in a very business like manner. Chinese doctors are very passionate about their jobs, but they have little patience with unco-operative or semi traumatized patients. Children are treated like mini adults and expected to behave as such,” Kelly explained. “There are none of the emotional connections, the  compassion between doctor and patient expected in Western medicine. When I broke my foot, essentially I was told to walk it off, to not make a fuss.”

“Yet,” said Matthew DeJong, “the people we met in China would have done anything for us. Patients stay on special floors at the Chengyang People’s Hospital, and translators are with families day and night. These people were always ready to interpret medical information (doctors seldom speak English) to deal with all our concerns and issues. Everyone, even street vendors, offered their help. This is a beautiful country. I think we all left part of our hearts in China.”
Has the family seen changes in Charlie since his return from China?

“Absolutely,” said Kelly. “He is now able to regulate his own body temperature. His muscle control is greatly improved; he is moving his body more easily and he seems to have developed much more stamina. This is incredible in a child who is spastic. He is struggling harder than ever to control the muscles in his mouth. I think he really wants to speak.”

“Charlie could never focus well on anything,” Matthew said. “Since he came home he has been able to focus on television and computer screens, following the action and dialogue and roaring with laughter at the comedies. His ability to pay attention has really improved.”
For Charlie one change that is highly significant is his new ability to chew. 

It first appeared after his fourth stem cell injection. 

For his entire life Charlie has only been able to eat puréed baby foods. His spastic bite reflex would not allow him to control chewing muscles. If he did attempt solid food of any kind, he threw up or choked. 

“I was eating a grilled cheese sandwich one day,” Kelly said. “and he indicated he wanted some. He actually chewed and swallowed some tiny pieces. This was a phenomenal change. I have since been able to introduce lasagna, eggs, hamburgers, things he could never have touched. He chews slowly, but he chews. He has reduced the future need for a feeding tube by 80 per cent with this change.”
The long treatments in China ended on September 8 with a joyous family re-union in Ottawa with grandparents Albert and Reina DeJong and Heather and Dick Hamill. 

“The doctors and staff in China often heard me telling Charlie to ‘keep your head up,’” said Kelly DeJong. “They began calling him ‘Taito’, which in Chinese means Head Up.”

Charlie DeJong is a determined young man, one definitely facing a challenging future with his ‘head up.’

Posted: 1/11/2012 2:47:01 PM by Don Margolis | with 0 comments

Are you or a loved one interested in receiving stem cell treatment? For free information, please fill out our treatment form or email me don@repairstemcells.org and just put TREATMENT in the subject box and the MEDICAL CONDITION in the message.
After years and years of useless pills from Aussie doctors 
(the same ones who tell patients stem cells don't work)
the boy is making good progress---in CHINA!

STEM cell treatments have already improved Flynn Rigby's speech. The eight-year-old and his school-teacher father, Frazer, flew to Qingdao, China, late November in the hope the treatments would help him talk and communicate.
His mother, Jenni Rigby, said the family were "quite hopeful" as for the first time Flynn was able to put sounds together and endings on some words---no surprise to our readers at Don Margolis.com!
The schoolboy would have intensive therapy when he returned home so doctors said the real benefits of the stem cell treatments would be evident in six months.
But the family were buoyed by the initial improvements.
Flynn had had 7 treatments by lumbar puncture.
The pair will arrive home in Austrlia on January 1st.
Don recommends three excellent China hospitals for childhood neuro conditions. Unlike the rest of stem cell centers around the world, our Chinese associates have treated hundreds under the age of three!
For more info, write to: don@RepairStemCells.org

Flynn Rigby and father Frazer are in China so Flynn can undergo stem cell treatments to help him talk and communicate.
Posted: 12/26/2011 3:09:44 AM by Don Margolis | with 0 comments

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