Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Failure becomes a Family Affair

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Two cousins in heart failure from Long Island, New York, travel to Bangkok for adult stem cell therapy to get back their normal, more active lives. 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.

They are doing great things with stem cells, but not here. However, if it doesn't work you will be no worse off than you are now

Cousins Ann Bonarelli and Fay Welsh from Long Island, New York are determined to reclaim their active lives back from an existence dominated by illness and endless restrictions. Sick of being sick they both decided to take the necessary steps to take some control over their illness.

Ann had a root canal treatment that got infected and before long it had destroyed a heart valve and her heart began to fail. She found herself on the slippery slope to chronic illness, constantly tired and having difficulty breathing. Her cousin Fay just four years ago went into hospital a young woman and emerged an old and sick lady. Cardiomyopathy had changed her life unfairly and drastically just at the time she hoped to be able to take care of herself and enjoy life. No longer could she dance and swim, she now had to deal with the reality of, "A heart that didn't function as well as it could."

For both the experience was devastating. "I believe in the Chinese saying that the mind resides in the heart, so not only was I experiencing physical disability but mental disability as well, with no hope of getting better," Fay said. Meanwhile Ann was searching for help and read about leading biotechnology company, Theravitae, and the success they were having treating patients with failing hearts using a patient's own adult stem cells.

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.

After receiving all the information Ann was half-way to her decision. What finally decided her was being unable to pick up her grandson at Thanksgiving. "In that one instant, when he asked me to pick him up and I couldn't, my mind was made up," she said.

The cousins took differing paths regarding consulting with their doctors. Fay dislikes Western medicine's obsession with drugs. "If you've got a headache or no appetite, or you can't sleep, they just give you more drugs, and my body doesn't like drugs. They just don't understand that, so they considered me uncooperative," she said. Hence she took full responsibility for her treatment herself, fearing her specialist's negativity, and did not consult her doctor about stem cell therapy. Ann's doctor's reply to her question as to what he knew about stem cells was encouraging. "They are doing great things with stem cells, but not here. However, if it doesn't work you will be no worse off than you are now," he said.

Ann told Fay about the VesCell adult stem cell therapy and they traveled together to Bangkok. "It has been a wonderful experience. Everyone is grand and people can't do enough for you. There is such a different attitude towards you as a patient. In the West if you are sick you are treated like an imbecile or a child. The hospital here was wonderful and everything was thoroughly explained," Fay said. For Ann the experience was, "Just great! I never had a nurse at home pat my hand and tell me I was going to be all right. I needed somebody to tell me that," she said. "Do whatever you have to do to have this done, because immediately you can breathe again. I can exercise twice a day on a bicycle without pain," she enthused. Fay summed it up with, "In six months time I want to go dancing."

These cousins hopefully have now joined the hundreds of sufferers of heart disease who are now enjoying a more energetic, healthier, pain-free and active life. "If people had the facts there wouldn't be any need for anything else. If you have the facts you can make a decision," Fay said. With success rates of over 75 percent, as measured clinically and by patient reports, Theravitae and its adult stem cell product, VesCell, are making a substantial difference in the lives of heart patients previously condemned to a bleak future. These cousins have now made a new and brighter future a family affair.

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.

According to Don Margolis, founder of TheraVitae, the cousins were the perfect pair of patients. "Fay was insightful enough to take charge of her own health before she had no options left. Ann was very fortunate to have a doctor who was totally honest with her. It doesn't get much better than that. We have seen too many patients not that fortunate. Seeing Ann dancing just two weeks after getting her cells made my day, my week, and my month. It's a darned good sign, but we need to wait another six weeks or so to be sure."

For additional information on adult stem cell therapy please visit Vescell.com

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Jon Bradshaw
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