For the past 15 years, I have studied stem cells, including technology and research advances, as well as market trends. I have been fascinated with them for most of my adult life. However, it was only recently, that I experienced the power of stem cells to impact my own life and health.
Autologous Stem Cell Patient
In February of 2014, I made a life-changing decision. I choose to believe in the power of the stem cells to heal, in part because I had studied the area for years, but more importantly, because I had few other options.
Prior to that time, I competed on the U.S. Olympic Rugby Team for years and also spent time playing overseas internationally in New Zealand and Australia. I was featured as an “International Athlete of the Year” and played rugby across four continents in a single year. I was at the peak of my game.
Unfortunately, that experience led to me requiring back-to-back knee surgeries that I had in May of 2012 (Auckland, NZ) and 2013 (USA). After the surgeries, I lost nearly complete function in my knee. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that I saw over two dozen different specialists, including orthopedists, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, certified dry needle practitioners, and too many others to count.
I was trying to address the pain and swelling that I was experiencing, but nothing would reduce it.
Next, I chose to have the swelling in my knee drained several times. It was a painful and expensive treatment approach, but each time gave me short-term bursts of (somewhat) normal knee function. I was prescribed high-doses of both oral and topic anti-inflammatories, which actually worked temporarily, but they never addressed the underlying cause of the damage. More importantly, I could not take them permanently without health consequences.
That all changed when I did an autologous stem cell procedure in early 2014, in which bone marrow derived stem cells were extracted from my hip and re-injected into my knee.
I received the treatment at the National Spine and Pain Center in Fairfax, VA, performed by Dr. Mayo Friedlis. To comply with FDA standards, the procedure I had was a same-day, autologous (“self-derived”), minimally manipulated procedure. Regenexx also offers a culture expanded version of the procedure at their Cayman Islands location, which involves expansion of a patient’s stem cells in the laboratory before re-administering them. However, this version of the procedure is illegal for U.S. patients.
The procedure, while painful, has changed my life. I included a photo below from immediately after receiving my stem cell transplant. It was much less invasive than prior surgeries.
Last month, I celebrated the one-year anniversary of my stem cell treatment. Fittingly, I was reminded of the event, because I was reading a review article about stem cell applications, when I received the one-year “Follow-up Questionnaire” in my inbox.
I paused to appreciate the moment, because like so many life-changing moments in life, when they pass, they pass quietly. I now have full function of my knee back. I am pain-free. I have my physical strength and power back. I am training daily again, in the gym for strength and on the track for speed and endurance.
I have also returned to playing rugby at an elite level, competing in international competitions and representing the United States at the upcoming Touch Rugby World Cup in Coffs Harbour in of April of 2015. It will be one of the world’s largest and most renowned sporting events of the year, and I will again be competing for my country.
Needless to say, I am grateful to understand the power of stem cells to heal, both on personal level as an athlete and on a cognitive level as a scientist. As we like to say at BioInformant, “We are not made of drugs, we are made of cells.”
BioInformant is the first and only market research firm to specialize in the stem cell industry. BioInformant research has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, Nature Biotechnology, Xconomy, and Vogue Magazine. Serving industry leaders that include GE Healthcare, Pfizer, Goldman Sachs, and Beckton Dickinson, ioInformant is your global leader in stem cell industry data.