Stem Cell Success Story #1: Laura Dominguez
After a motor vehicle accident left her paralyzed from the neck down, Laura was told by physicians that she would never be able to walk again. She was only 16 years old at the time of the accident. Doctors said that she had suffered a C6 vertebrae fracture that had caused severe damage to her spine. However, she refused to give up.
Laura began reviewing the options available to her. After almost a year of being in many different hospitals, she and her mother relocated to San Diego. In San Diego, Laura went through intense physical therapy. While receiving therapy, she met another girl who had a similar spinal cord injury and found that they were both interested in an alternative.
Finally, they both discovered a new stem cell therapy procedure and decided to go for it. The stem cell surgery involved removal of tissue from the olfactory sinus area, which is the back of the nose, and transplanting it into the spinal cord at the injury site.
After the Stem Cell Transplant
Following surgery, Laura returned to California where she continued her physical therapy. During an MRI, they discovered that her spinal cord appeared to be healing. In fact, almost 70% of the lesion now looked like normal spinal cord tissue. Laura even began to to regain feeling in some parts of her upper body. Within 6 months, she had regained feeling down to her abdomen!
Today, she can feel her entire body. Laura is able to stand with assistance and even walk a few steps. Although some doctors said that she would never be able to walk again, she is now living proof that there is hope. She credits stem cell therapy for improving her strength and helping her regain movement in her body.
Laura is now happily married, has a son and continues to be an advocate for stem cell therapy. Check out her full story here (courtesy of Stem Cell Research Facts):
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Stem Cell Success Story #2: Doug Oliver
At age 32, Doug Oliver had begun losing his eyesight due to macular degeneration. His opthamologist told him that he had eyes of a 70-something year old man and that there was no treatment available to fix it. Doug was devastated. He was no longer able to do things he enjoyed, such as reading and driving a car. The most difficult thing was no longer being able to see the faces of his grandchildren. Doug became severely depressed and had considered ending it all, but decided to take a step back to explore other options.
He discovered a clinic in Florida and decided to participate in a clinical trial going on at the time. An orthopedic surgeon removed bone marrow from his hip bone, isolated and concentrated the adult stem cells, and then injected it into the damaged areas of his eyes.
Regaining The Ability To See
Doug went from looking at life through the lens of honey-comb like gray spots to regaining his eyesight enough to drive again. His vision was originally 20/2,000 and had been stored to 20/60 in the left eye, and even better in the right. He can see the faces of those he loves again and considers adult stem cell therapy a miracle.
Today, he is the founder and Executive Director of The Regernative Outcomes Foundation. It is a non-profit organization that provides direct grants to stem cell patients participating in FDA-approved clinical trials. He is in the process of writing a book to tell his story. Doug is a true patient advocate and can often be found engaging in key legislation for stem cell therapy.
Check out his full story here (courtesy of Stem Cell Research Facts):
Stem Cell Success Story #3: Joe Davis, Jr.
At just eight months old, Joe Davis Jr. had been diagnosed. Although a genuinely happy baby, he cried often and did not like to be touched. Fevers came often and there was one crisis after another. Physicians told the parents, Darlene and Joe Davis, Sr., that it was not likely that Joe Davis, Jr. would live into his teen years.
The parents were devastated. Darlene had originally been diagnosed as infertile and required special reproductive treatments in order to get pregnant. Therefore, it was challenging to hear that her miracle child may not survive this dreaded disease. As a nurse, Joe Davis, Sr., knew that sickle cell anemia brought along varied levels of symptoms because he worked with patients that had the disease. He knew that some cases were relatively mild but that this wasn’t the case for his son.
They began to research what could be done, but only found temporary fixes to their problem. Blood transfusions were an option but they weren’t the cure. A doctor the couple knew told them about a new option: doing a transplant using adult stem cells taken from a donor at birth from umbilical cord blood. However, they’d need a good donor match to decrease rejection, but cord blood donations from the African-American community was low. While it seemed like a possible option, they weren’t yet optimistic.
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His Brother Saved His Life
In the mist of the stress, Darlene discovered she was pregnant and hope was restored. A prenatal amniocentesis was performed and they found that baby #2, Isaac, would be a perfect match for the transplant.
At two years old, Joe Davis, Jr. received a dose of chemotherapy to kill off his diseased blood cells and was then injected with the umbilical cord blood removed from his brother. At that moment, Joe Davis, Jr. was cured of sickle cell disease.
There Is Hope With Stem Cell Therapy
The three stories mentioned above shed light on the positive outcomes possible with stem cell therapy. Each year there are new discoveries. The list is growing for what stem cell transplants have the ability to treat and cure, giving us hope for the future.