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Multiple sclerosis patient will take treatments at Cellmedicine

by Amy Hamilton, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, January 11, 2009

Mary Posta suffers from an advanced form of multiple sclerosis termed “secondary progressive”.  After having failed to respond to the treatments her doctor gave her, she decided on searching for alternatives.  The 59-year-old Ridgway woman, explored various options available and has decided on seeking stem cell therapy. 

“Everything has been falling into place way too easy,” Posta said. “Through the past few months, I’ve gotten letters and phone calls of people saying they’re watching me and want me to keep them updated on what happens.”

After searching numerous hospitals that offer this procedure, Posta chose the Institute for Cellular Medicine (Cellmedicine), which is located outside in Central America.

“I’m 59,” she said. “I just don’t have the time to wait for the U.S. to legalize it.”

Initially Posta wanted to wait until stem cell therapy is available to the general population in the US.  However after having heard that it could take up to ten years, she decided to look for options abroad. 

“I talked to four doctors. One of them said, ‘What have you got to lose?’ ” Posta said. “No one is saying that is a cure. But if I get 5 percent improvement, that’s 5 percent more than I have now.”

The stem cell therapy that will be used has been reported previously in a publication with the University of California San Diego and the company Medistem Inc which is available at this link  The report described a small group of patients that underwent a remarkable recovery following stem cell re-administration.

At Northwestern University in Chicago, stem cells have been used for multiple sclerosis with some degree of success reported.  The protocol used involves first wiping out the immune system of the patient using chemotherapy and/or radiation, and subsequently new stem cells are added.  The approach that will be used for treating Posta does not involve destruction of the immune system but rather a “reprogramming”.  Additionally, since Posta will receive her own stem cells there is no risk of rejection since the stem cells have her own DNA. 

Use of fat stem cells in the area of veterinary medicine has become almost a common practice for dogs and horses with cartilage injuries, osteoarthritis, and in some cases autoimmune conditions.  The application of fat stem cells in humans is currently being performed by several companies including the San Diego company Cytori, and the Miami Florida company BioHeart.  Advantages of fat stem cells include their high concentration of mesenchymal stem cells, which seem to be able to block autoimmune attack, which is the major problem in multiple sclerosis.  Additionally, fat contains a type of “primed” T regulatory cells which are also known to block activity of T cells that are attacking the body, such as the myelin basic protein-reactive T cells that are the major problem in multiple sclerosis.

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