Odds Favor Hawaiian's Return to Health with Stem Cell Therapy

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Placed beyond hope by medical professionals in his own country, a US man takes his chances with adult stem therapy to treat his heart disease.

Sitting in his hotel room in Bangkok just days after having stem cell therapy, Conrad Bush doesn't look particularly ill. But he is. He has one blocked artery in his heart and many partially occluded arteries that supply his heart muscle with blood. Bypass was not an option.

"In 2005 I started getting tired. I had no energy and huffed and puffed just trying to put my shoes on. The surgeon told me he was unable to unblock my artery and therefore my heart was beyond specialist help. When those guys told me there was no help and no hope, I accepted the news, because they were the best. But I still had one chance left - so I have had stem cells from my own blood injected into the ischemic areas," he said.

While his medical history is a common enough one it is also unique, in that it is his own story. He is one of life's givers. Over the years Conrad has given of his time and his skills in administration and TV production to a wide variety of charitable causes in Hawaii. He has produced Jerry Lewis telethons, worked for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Muscular Dystrophy Association produced TV programs for Habilitat and for six years was Executive Director for the Arthritis Foundation, including six telethons.

"I lived a high pressure life that was always deadline-intensive. I felt I could cope but I was beating up on myself without knowing it. I took my good health for granted as if I were invincible. Disease robs you of your dreams - you just keep working because you can. You don't realize until too late that you have worn out certain parts of your body. I didn't sleep enough. I burned out," he said.

While busy covering the Hawaii State Legislature and the City Council and doing TV specials and on-location shows he was unaware of what was happening to his body. "It was a happy time for me, doing what I wanted to do and being surrounded by stable, competent and professional people," he added.

And then it happened. "In 1998 I had a massage after which I experienced pain down my left arm and neck. The next day I went to hospital and was given painkillers and exercises to perform. A scan said I had a pinched nerve in the neck which needed surgery. No one said anything about my heart or cholesterol. My doctor's locum suggested a treadmill test in preparation for surgery and during that test my BP dropped dangerously so an EKC, echogram, radioisotope scan and an angiogram were done which showed that all three of the main vessels supplying my heart muscle with blood were over ninety percent blocked," he said.

Immediately placed in Intensive Care his wife was summoned. "We were both devastated and in deep shock. I needed a bypass and I had no choice. It was all out of my hands. I needed to put my faith in the doctors and fortunately I had the best working for me. Fear of the unknown and the overall uncertainty took over but what made me brave was my faith and trust in those there to help me. I boosted my own self-confidence. I was told afterwards that I had had at least two heart attacks and now had a damaged heart muscle. Five grafts were put in place," he recounted.

His recovery was monitored and his cholesterol came down. He thought he was fine so drank occasionally and sometimes cheated on a healthy diet - and all the while the clock was ticking and he was running out of time.

"I had been following Don Ho's amazing recovery story and my boss heard about a seminar in Hawaii to be conducted by Dr. Kitipan Arom, an eminent heart specialist from Bangkok Heart Hospital who had treated Don. I talked with Don Ho and to friends and was also lucky enough to be able to speak with Dr. Arom about whether or not I could be a candidate for stem cell therapy. Dr. Arom even gave me his mobile number, so I was able to ask all of the many questions I had about treatment possibilities. I was ready to go and here I am," he said.

Conrad enrolled with the leader in stem cell therapy, an international company, Theravitae, through its Bangkok offices. He has been cared for by them since his arrival and taken to all appointments as a part of his package. Theravitae's product, known as VesCell, is the therapy of choice for patients with serious and advanced heart problems.

The results of clinical trials done on VesCell to date give Conrad a conservative 75 percent chance of returning to a far more active life, without the debilitating symptoms associated with serious heart disease. Just a small amount of his own blood was taken and the cells that can go to work repairing his damaged heart and replenishing the blood supply to the ischemic areas were multiplied by many millions in a laboratory before being returned directly to the heart muscle by injection. "My advice to anyone with a similar story is that they should do it - just do it," he emphasized.

About TheraVitae

TheraVitae is a private, multinational company focused on using stem cells from the patient's own blood in order to treat a variety of disorders, especially cardiovascular diseases. The company has developed a proprietary stem cell technology, 'VesCell', that is currently being used by hospitals in Thailand and Singapore to treat patients with heart disease.

VesCell -- A Natural Treatment for Heart Disease

The body has natural ways of healing itself and the cardiovascular system is no exception. Angiogenic Cell Precursors (ACPs) originate in bone marrow and then circulate in the blood vessels. To manufacture VesCell, TheraVitae expands a small number of ACPs harvested from about 250cc of blood into a therapeutic quantity. VesCell is injected either through a coronary artery via catheter, or during surgery, directly into the heart muscle.

A key aspect of VesCell therapy is the advanced cell isolation and expansion technique that allows for the ACPs to be harvested from blood collected in a procedure similar to a common blood donation. VesCell uses a patient's own adult stem cells to treat Heart Disease and is a viable therapeutic possibility for heart patients without any other treatment option.

TheraVitae Corporate Web Site: http://www.theravitae.com
VesCell Web Site: http://www.vescell.com


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