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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.
Diagnosed with an extremely rare form of bone cancer, a Claresholm man is undergoing a unique treatment regime in Calgary, vowing to beat the disease.

Suffering from metastatic small blue cell cancer, Devin McCutcheon, 29, underwent the first of two stem cell transplants Thursday at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, part of a rigorous treatment campaign created by doctors here in conjunction with Dr. Jonathan Finlay, a Los Angeles-based oncologist who has successfully treated this type of cancer in the past.

What makes McCutcheon’s case rare is the fact Finlay had only seen metastatic small blue cell cancer in children under five, meaning there was no treatment protocol for adults.

Cancer-fighter Devin McCutcheon outside the Tom Baker

“It’s totally different (chemotherapy) recipes than what they’ve seen here before,” said McCutcheon.

“In one way it’s good because now they know a lot from what I’ve had and what they’ve had to do.”

The second transplant is scheduled for two months from now.

This is actually McCutcheon’s second battle against the disease, his first diagnosis coming two years ago while he was working in the northern Alberta oilsands.

Suffering from chronic headaches he thought was the result of an abscessed tooth, McCutcheon went for further tests after removing the tooth didn’t stop the pain.

It was then doctors discovered he had an aggressive brain tumour — called a medulloblastoma — which was removed in December 2009, followed by nearly six weeks of intense radiation therapy.

One year later, McCutcheon was given a clean bill of health on what he calls “the best day of my life.”

Cleared to return to work, McCutcheon was back in the oilsands for just a few weeks when he developed intense pain in his hip.

Further tests revealed the worst — bone cancer in both hips, his pelvis, spine, left shoulder blade and collar bone.

At first doctors told McCutcheon he would likely die from the disease, but that “just wasn’t an option” for him.

“I’m just doing what I gotta do to get through it,” he said.

“You can’t just lay down or you won’t win and I’m winning.

Along with beating the disease, McCutcheon said his goal is to one day meet Finlay.

“I would love to shake that man’s hand and say ‘thank you very much,’ because I was told by two specialists here I wouldn’t make it.”


Twitter: @SunDaveDormer

Posted: 7/31/2011 3:31:38 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.
New push in Austin for adult stem cell therapy

Updated: Wednesday, 27 Jul 2011, 7:03 PM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 27 Jul 2011, 5:04 PM CDT

·         Leslie Rhode

AUSTIN (KXAN) - After kicking and punching his way through 15 years of Krav Maga self-defense classes, Pete Hardy's knees were shot.

"Pretty much every morning I would have to get up and I would stay on eight to 10 Motrin a day to be able to function," said Hardy, a 59-year-old self-defense instructor Pete Hardy whose knee cartilage was paper thin.
Doctors told Hard that surgery to replace his aching joints would likely be his only option. But he chose a more unlikely route -- adult stem cell therapy.

Dr. Robert Johnson, an orthopedic surgeon, took Hardy's own stem cells from bone marrow in his hip and put them back into his knee joints. Johnson said the stem cells first reduced inflammation and pain and then became the cartilage Hardy is missing.

"What we're doing is going to where they are stored, harvesting them and transferring them to where we think they're needed," said Johnson.

"Within three days, I was pain free and taught class the very next day," said Hardy. "I taught four classes the next day, so there was no down time whatsoever.

"I can jump the way I used to jump. I can kick the way I used to kick. I can move. I can spin. I can turn. I can do anything that 20 and 30 year old guys that I train can do. It's remarkable."

A new movement advocating adult stem cell research and therapies

Hardy and Dr. Johnson are part of a new nonprofit in Austin called MedRebels . The group is funded primarily by two local medical product and research companies. They say more people could stay active and possibly disease free in the future if the medical community would give regenerative medicine and adult stem cells a chance.

The name MedRebels implies physicians should step up and rebel against the conventional treatments even though the stem cell therapies are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration . MedRebels are pushing adult stem cell therapies and research and not those utilizing embryonic stem cells.

The group hopes by focusing only on adult stem cells, they can avoid the ethical and political controversy that often surrounds embryonic stem cell research.

"We're considered to be a very conservative state, and Austin is considered to be a very liberal town," said MedRebels board member and Celling Technologies founder Kevin Dunworth. "That type of political environment wouldn't lend itself to something that doesn't sit right in the middle. Both sides of the aisle can agree that adults stem cells are a great way to positively affect Texas not 20 years from now, but now." "I think Texas is really in the forefront of adult stem cell research," Johnson said.

Johnson has been using adult stem cell therapies in his patients with spine fusions and in patients with other joint problems. The risks, he said, are minimal including the risk of infection at the injection points in the bone and any risk that comes along with sedation.

The therapy is done on an out-patient basis. Johnson has had to do a second procedure on a few patients when the pain came back after a year or so. The long-term effects are still unknown.

"This is a biologic step," said Johnson. "This gets away from metal and plastic. This is recruiting the body to heal itself, and I think it's a quantum leap ahead of everything else."

Other doctors and researchers are skeptical of MedRebels' motivation. They are also worried that MedRebels is pushing treatment that has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Another adult stem cell success story

Austin hair stylist Lizzie Horn stood on her feet through months of extreme hip pain trying to keep her career going. She also suffered through daily runs the active athlete had enjoyed for years.

"For about a year I just had a lot of hip pain," Horn said. "I do a lot of running, and full time I stand on my feet all day. With the running and standing on my feet, the pain pretty much got unbearable."

Horn also opted for adult stem cell therapy after encouraging her physician to try the procedure. The doctor took her own stem cells from bone marrow in her hip and after treating it placed it back in to her hip joint. Horn is back on her feet and running.

"Now I'm up to 40, 50 miles a week with no pain," Horn said. "It's been great. It's been over a year, and I've had no issues."

Stem cell research in Austin

There are currently several Austin physicians involved in stem cell trials. They include projects at University Medical Center Brackenridge , Austin Heart and Heart Hospital of Austin .

Researchers at the
University of Texas in Austin are studying both adult and embryonic stem cells. The National Institutes of Health runs an online data base compiling government and privately funded trials going on across the country.

One of MedRebels' biggest backers, Celling Technologies based in Austin, is working on more than 30 adult stem cell research projects.

The future of stem cell research

Researchers are not just looking at adult stem cells found in bone marrow but in
body fat. Plastic surgeons in Austin are using cells from body fat in reconstructive procedures.

Researchers discovered the capabilities of adult stem cells in body fat about the year 2000. Veterinarians shortly thereafter began using body fat stem cells from horses to repair the animals' own tendon and ligament tears and joint problems.

"Using fat derived stem cells or fat derived regenerative cells has been commercialized in the vet world for going on eight years," said MedRebels Scientist Dr. Ted Sand.

Researchers in Austin hope to duplicate the success vets have had with animals in humans. Sand said bone marrow stem cells can degenerate with age, but research suggests the fat derived stem cells do not. The chances for complications in therapy are lower in the stem cell collection from fat than from bone marrow. There are also more adult stem cells per volume in body fat.

"There is a lot more regenerative cells in fat on a per volume basis than there is in bone marrow," said Sand. "We can get fewer cells or we can get more cells at one collection and that again pushes the therapeutic benefit."

Dr. Johnson and other MedRebels look for a day when adult stem cells from bone marrow and body fat could be used to not just repair bones and tissue but life threatening diseases.

"I sort of feel like a little kid who wants to rush into the birthday party but is kind of holding back for the right moment," said Dr. Johnson. "I feel this is a dam that's going to burst. I don't know when. I think it's sort of starting to trickle, but I think eventually this will be the standard of care. I think most people around the country will be doing it."

Other links:

Another Austin nonprofit advocating stem cell research -
Posted: 7/28/2011 4:14:44 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.
Neil Barron seeks funds for adult stem cell therapy in China
 - kmccarthy@ledger-enquirer.com

If you saw Neil Barron on the street, you might notice that he’s confined to a wheelchair. You might notice that his muscles are tight and rigid, and when he speaks to you, you might hear that his speech is slow and deliberate.

But you won’t see Neil Barron on the street. The 30-year-old Phenix City resident, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy before he turned 2 years old, is home-bound.

The physical manifestations of CP are what people might first notice about Barron and they might make stereotypical judgements about who he is or what he is capable of. But once you start talking to him it becomes apparent that he is an intelligent, articulate, artistic and determined man who has gained knowledge and strength from his struggles.

You’ll learn that he loves to paint, draw and write poetry.

That he graduated summa cum laude from Chattahoochee Valley Community College with an Associate of Arts degree and he’s currently at a stand-still on his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Troy University due to transportation issues.

And you’ll learn that all Barron really wants is to be able to be a productive member of society.

According the Mayo Clinic’s website, cerebral palsy, or CP, “is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by injury or abnormal development in the immature brain, most often before birth.”

There is no cure for CP, but over the past 4 years Barron’s research has led him to a company in China called Beike Biotech. The facility provides adult stem cell therapy in addition to various physical therapies that aim to improve the quality of life for people with cerebral palsy and other afflictions, such as multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.

The biggest obstacle to Barron participating in the therapy is the cost. And the biggest obstacle in raising money is the stigma many associate with stem cell research and China, Barron said.

“There’s a lot of skepticism about China, but what people don’t realize is that China is only the location,” he said. “The Chinese really didn’t invent anything. They brought in scientists and researchers from all around the world and the Chinese government funded the research.”

The adult stem cell therapy that is used at Beike is not yet available in the United States because it has yet to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a process that involves testing and trials and can take years to become available to the public.

Barron and his grandmother, Hazel Willis, whom Barron lives with, said that he has already put down a $9,000 deposit for the year-long therapy program in Shenzhen, China; however, he still needs about $40,000 more to pay for the entire process.

To raise the funds, Barron is using his artistic talent by selling his art work.

About what inspires him to draw, paint and write poetry, Barron said, “One thing that has always fascinated me is human emotion and the human condition. One of the things that I find disturbing about current times is, especially now, everyone’s in survival mode and compassion seems to be in short supply. I lie awake thinking at night if I were out in the world all the good things I could do and all the lives I could touch.”

He currently has his paintings displayed on his Facebook page and is asking that potential buyers make him an offer.

Donations can also be made to the tax deductible Neil E. Barron Medical Expense Fund at Regions Bank, 1200 Broad St. .


Photos by Mike Haskey/mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com Neil Barron, an artist with cerebral palsy, is trying to sell some of his paintings to raise money to travel to China for adult stem cell therapy. He currently lives with his grandmother, Hazel Willis, in Phenix City.












The treatment

In addition to the research that Barron has done online, he has also traveled to state-side conventions where he has spoken with doctors from Beike, as well as people who have undergone their therapy treatments.

“I’ve spoken to hundreds of people, both on Facebook and in person, who’ve received these treatments and four or five years after treatment, to this day, not one of the hundreds of people who I’ve spoken to have experienced any negative side effects of any treatment done by Beike Biotech,” Barron said.

He said that the year’s worth of 2-hour-a-day, 6-day-a-week therapy sessions would make him more mobile and strengthen his body, helping him to support his own weight.

“Even if I couldn’t walk, just the benefits from the rehab therapies alone, that much attention for one year in a hospital, the stem cell treatment aside, ... I know would probably give me the ability to stand up and to transfer into a car,” Barron said. “In addition to that my visual scanning and tracking abilities would improve.”

Barron knows it’s a lot of money to raise, but he’s hoping to appeal to people who will think about the long-term implications.

“I found out that for each person placed in a nursing home, for every single person, the federal government spends $50,000-$80,000 a year and that’s just on basic necessities,” Barron said. “I could potentially live 50 more years. If you multiple $50,000-$80,000 times 50 ... , it costs $6 million to $9 million to take care of me through the course of my remaining lifetime.”

As long as Barron is home-bound and unable to work, he will have to rely of Medicare, and therefore the tax-paying public, to cover his health care expenses.

“He wants to be a tax payer,” said Willis, his grandmother.

He also just wants a better quality of life.

“People can say what they want about the stem cell (therapy) — that it’s a placebo, that it doesn’t work — but it’s the combination of all these different elements that can really revitalize and renew a person’s life,” Barron said. “It cannot be denied that a lot of these patients that have traveled overseas, according to their own testimony, have experienced a renewed quality and improvement in life. And so big deal if someone says that it’s a placebo effect or that the doctors can’t explain exactly how it works, the improvement in a person’s given life speaks volumes. And that’s truly what is important beyond anything else.”

Katie McCarthy, 706-571-8515
Click here to visit Neil Barron's Facebook page
Click here to learn more about Beike Biotech



Posted: 7/19/2011 3:55:48 PM by Don Margolis | with 0 comments

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