Stem cells treatments are becoming more and more popular among people with spinal cord injuries. At first, they were a mysterious world, but now stem cells are something many are turning to, and with less hesitation. Whether it’s embryonic or adult stem cells, they’re booming. But is it worth your time? Here are three stories of people with cord injuries who have received some kind of stem cell treatment.
The first video comes from a longtime quadriplegic and friend of mine, Caleb Bartlett. He was injured when he was a teenager 20 years ago and is a C5-6 quadriplegic. He caught wind of Dr. Zannos Grekos, a doctor doing intravenous delivery of adult stem cells (taken from the bone marrow of the patient), who’s been treating everything from heart disease and dementia to Parkinson’s and spinal cord injuries using his method.
Caleb has been paralyzed for nearly two decades and always wanted more return (like all of us) and interestingly, has decided to see if any return is possible in the way of Dr. Grekos. He’ll be undergoing his treatment this year. Caleb also has a blog, The Stem Cell, where he will be chronicling it all (it’ll be interesting to see what kind of return someone so many years post will get). He interviewed Dr. Grekos for a recent video blog post, where they talk in-depth about his IV stem cell treatment. Watch the interview
Our second video is of a famous lady in the spinal cord injury world – Katie Sharify – the first person with a spinal cord injury to receive an embryonic stem cell transplant directly in her injury site (in 2011). She was one of the lucky few chosen for the now-defunct Geron embryonic stem cell trial and is seeing some encouraging results. She can walk with assistance and has gotten tons of the sensation return. Very cool!
While it’s hard to say if the return she’s seeing would’ve come back on it’s own, or if it was due to the stem cells, it’s safe to say the stem cells are doing something. Katie is almost 2 years post now, working hard in the gym each day. Watch this video of Katie talking about the treatment (by the California Stem Cell Agency)
And our last video is of another female with a spinal cord injury, Trish Stressman, who traveled to Panama for a series of embryonic stem cell treatments. She’s a rather new injury as well, and she was determined to explore her options. She’s also a new mom. Wanting some return of her core muscles, so she can take care of her baby more safely was her dream, and it seems the stem cells are listening. Watch her and her husband talk about the treatments (with baby Savannah)
Traveling out of the country to receive any kind of stem cell treatment is becoming more accepted and less shady, and this demonstrates progress in the field. But remember, stem cell treatments aren’t for everyone and you assume your own risk in trying them.
However – if you’ve decided to explore your options, remember to always check the reputation of the doc (and speak with past patients) before you do anything. Choosing a reputable stem cell treatment by a doctor who genuinely cares is key.
Have you undergone stem cell treatment? What kind of results have you seen?
Watch the videos!