TheraVitae's Cat Patient: "Nine-Lives Dave" Tells Congress of the Miracle of Adult Stem Cells

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Instead of a hospice and death, an American man with a raft of medical problems was given a new lease on life by the technology of adult stem cell therapy. The cells were derived from Dave's own blood by a Thai-Israeli company known as TheraVitae, developers of "VesCell" stem cells, arguably the best in the world at treating chronically ill heart failure and angina patients. Dave Foege testified before Congressional hearing in April.

Dave Foege from Naples, Florida was one of more than 20 desperate "End Stage" patients, out of the 200 patients treated with VesCell in total as of March 2007 (including 24 patients in the clinical trial reported last year to the American Heart Association). These 20 unfortunates not only had no options left but were fast running out of time. Dave Foege testified before Congressional hearing this April.

When a cardiologist suggests a patient go to a hospice, he probably means well - that one should die in relative comfort and dignity. Dave received such a suggestion from a cardiologist who had Dave's best interest at heart, but he decided to go down fighting instead.

He tried a couple of alternatives and had nothing but bad luck. With all his problems, in late 2006 he suffered a paralyzing hemorrhage stroke! By the time he arrived in Bangkok in March, 2006, he had already the following: three different valve problems, five previous angioplasties, one open heart bypass, more than seven heart attacks, severe Congestive Heart Failure (NYHA Class IV), cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension, Dislipidemia, an Ejection Fraction in the teens, an old kidney transplant and that paralyzing stroke.

No doctor would touch him. No doctor, that is, except the exceptional Kitipan Arom at Bangkok Heart Hospital. After 30 years of the most dangerous surgery in America, including at the famed Minneapolis Heart Institute (where he was a co-founder), Dr. Kit returned to his native land to do what he could to upgrade Thai thoracic surgery. He gave Dave a chance, and "a chance" was all that Dave was asking. Sometimes high-risk patients go untreated because of legal risks. Dave got his treatment!

Dr. Kit took on this "impossible" case, but before the patient was even anesthetized, the doctor must have had a moment of doubt. Dave had an "incident" on the table just before they started to operate: Dave "straight-lined."    But Dr. Kit and his sidekick Dr. Permyos were more than up to it. First they tried 300 Joules of "CLEAR!" with no result. Dr. Kit sliced Dave's left side and Dr. Permyos reached inside and discovered that Dave's heart had fallen out of his myocardium. He massaged the heart successfully, returned it inside the myocardium, the straight-line started to jiggle, and as soon as the doctors were sure the crisis was over, the stem cells were successfully injected into the heart muscle: patient stable, no brain damage.

Only five weeks later Dave was having measurable improvements. At the ten week mark he went to Washington to testify on stem cells. And this was in the wheelchair he had lived in since his stroke! The sickest TheraVitae patient Dr. Kit ever treated had his six-month checkup, and his home doctor told him his ejection fraction had more than doubled! This doctor was quite a skeptic prior to these results.

At month ten he went to see Dr. Grekos of Regenocyte in Naples who advised him that though his heart muscle was a lot better, he needed another shot of cells in order to supply more blood to that improved heart muscle. So back Dave went to Bangkok at the eleven month-mark for a second shot of cells, this time by catheter implant into the coronary artery.

Then came the day that everyone was hoping for! 18 months after his stroke and less than a month after his new cells, he said to his wife Susan, "Hand me my cane, sweetheart." With that he got out of his wheelchair for good. He went into rehab, exercised like heck for two weeks and then went home. "If I can walk over a quarter-mile at a couple of airports coming back home, I darn sure don't need a wheelchair to go out to dinner anymore!"

Daves testimonial and live saving adult stem cell experience was read into the Congressional Record by Senator Grassley on the floor of the U.S. Senate during the stem cell debate April 10, 2007.


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Jon Bradshaw
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