Pulmonary Hypertension Successfully Treated With Stem Cells
"It goes against traditional theory that we should try to fix the existing pulmonary vasculature, but we are generating new blood vessels with impressive results that are lasting beyond 12 months," said Grekos, assistant clinical professor of cardiology at Nova Southeastern University and head of the international team that developed the stem cell treatment protocol.
According to Grekos, the clinical study is a collaborative effort among physicians at Regenocyte Therapeutic, a Florida-based stem cell clinic; researchers from TheraVitae, a biotechnology company in Tel Aviv, Israel; and physicians from Regenocyte's Dominican Republic division. The patient's base line and follow-up testing is being conducted in part by Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida.
Patient Karl Wagner, 46 of Macon, Georgia, underwent the adult stem cell therapy in February 2008. Since being diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, Wagner was on a rapid decline.
"I was being managed by medication, but still had violent chest pains, heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, and severe shortness of breath. I could barely do anything with my daughters and was on oxygen almost all the time," said Wagner. "Doctors at Mayo Clinic gave me a three year prognosis."
Grekos announced that at one year, the patient had maintained the benefits from his stem cell treatments. Wagner's cardiac ultrasounds completed at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville showed a significant initial decrease of the pulmonary artery mean pressure from a pre-treatment high of 41mmHg (severe) to a post treatment low of 28mmHg (mild). Wagners pulmonary pressures remained at a low of 29mmHg even up to one year. The patient will continue to be monitored on a regular basis and it is expected that these numbers will remain low. This is extremely encouraging, and to-date, the other patients in the study are following the same pattern.
"This is the first time medical science has successfully reversed the disease process in pulmonary hypertension, a previously untreatable condition with a very grim prognosis," Grekos explained. "Using advanced engineered stem cell technology and innovative delivery methods, we've been able to harness the regenerative power of stem cells and literally replace the damaged blood vessels in the lungs of the pulmonary hypertension patients."
Wagner's saturations are now consistently high and he no longer needs to be supplemented with oxygen or considered for a lung transplant.
"I feel great," he says, "and have a normal life again. I take my girls to school every morning and work all day. My quality of life is ten-fold what it used to be. I also am off almost all of my medications and the doctors at Mayo Clinic have given me a new prognosis."
Athina Kyritsis, MD, chair of Regenocyte's Scientific Advisory Board, says the work announced today is based upon several years of Regenocyte's clinical experience in the treatment of cardiac and vascular disease using autologous adult stem cell therapy.
"In treating diseases like cardiomyopathy and peripheral vascular disease, we've had consistent success in generating viable heart tissue and growing new vessels. With the increased circulation, healing of wounds and improvement in ejection fractions, it seemed a natural progression to approach pulmonary hypertension in the same manner. I believe we have only begun to discover what adult stem cells can accomplish in altering the course of diseases now thought to be untreatable."
Dr. Zannos Grekos will be hosting a free public seminar at the Sahib Shrine Center in Sarasota, Florida on May 30, 2009. Reservations can be made at http://www.regenocyte.com or by calling (866) 216-5710.
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