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Thread: Research Offers New Hope For Spinal Cord Injuries

  1. #1

    Research Offers New Hope For Spinal Cord Injuries

    Research Offers New Hope For Spinal Cord Injuries
    Johnstown Man Determined To Walk Again
    Lane Lyon, 7NEWS Reporter

    POSTED: 3:18 pm MST November 2, 2008
    UPDATED: 7:30 pm MST November 2, 2008

    JOHNSTOWN, Colo. -- Pastor Dave Castner inspires through family and his own, personal story.

    "Good morning," Castner said to a small, but attentive group at the Loveland Good Samaritan Center, where Castner is chaplain.

    Castner conducts his Sunday service from a wheel-chair. The 37-year-old is unable to walk


    following a terrible car crash in Eastern Washington over a year ago.

    "It's like I've been given a second chance at life, you know?" Castner said.

    Castner’s wife, Timorie, who was driving, and their little boy, Liam, escaped serious injury.

    "There's just no way any of us should have come out of that," said Timorie from the family’s Johnstown home.

    While clearly mentally strong, physically Pastor Dave, as he’s known, has begun his own journey of hope.

    "My whole thing was, if we don't try this, we'll always wonder, what if?" said Timory.

    Together, Dave and Timorie would travel halfway around the world to a clinic in Germany for a spinal cord repair treatment not available in the United States.

    more....

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news...s=den&psp=news

  2. #2
    He should have stayed at home and put his faith in Dr Davies research which is right on his doorstep. It's good Dr Davies got a mention in the article but maybe a little confusing to link it in with the procedure in Germany (XCell centre probably) which is pretty bogus.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by carbar View Post
    He should have stayed at home and put his faith in Dr Davies research which is right on his doorstep. It's good Dr Davies got a mention in the article but maybe a little confusing to link it in with the procedure in Germany (XCell centre probably) which is pretty bogus.
    how is years of clinical trials "at the door step"? from what i've read most trials take around a decade to complete.

  4. #4
    I didn't mention clinical trials. The research is on his doorstep right now and if it continues to get the funding and support it deserves, there is more than a chance that trials will follow and ultimately a cure. When exactly is of course up for debate, but a tried and tested cure at a future date far exceeds any bogus claim of a cure now. Of course it is hard to hear continually that a cure is 'years' away, but that's the way it is for many illnesses and conditions - how long have we been hearing that a cure for cancer is just around the corner, well where is it? I've lost too many friends to cancer in the last ten years, where was the cure for them? We just have to wait and while we wait we educate ourselves about the valid research that is going on and support it, spread the word about it, contribute to its progress in any way we can.

  5. #5

    Wow, talk about cynical.

    I can't believe you would suggest that we had waited for the research to be available in the US. The treatment in Germany is completely valid, it was verified by a Neuro-physician for us before we left. As far as bogus, I think you should open your mind and look at the results before you pass judgement. He has been back 3 months and is beginning therapy work with leg braces -- something he was originally told was not even something to dream of. It is senseless to sit and wait for something that may take years when other options are readily available.

    Just because something has not been approved by our FDA does not mean that it is not a viable treatment option. Because of the free-enterprise we have in the US that makes our medical fields the best in the world, we are also wide open to frivolous lawsuits. Our FDA gets tied up with political and legal battles besides just the science aspects to keep many treatments from being approved. The Xcel Center in Germany is an excellent facility and the treatments they offer will only aid people that are willing to let them.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by castner View Post
    I can't believe you would suggest that we had waited for the research to be available in the US. The treatment in Germany is completely valid, it was verified by a Neuro-physician for us before we left. As far as bogus, I think you should open your mind and look at the results before you pass judgement. He has been back 3 months and is beginning therapy work with leg braces -- something he was originally told was not even something to dream of. It is senseless to sit and wait for something that may take years when other options are readily available.

    Just because something has not been approved by our FDA does not mean that it is not a viable treatment option. Because of the free-enterprise we have in the US that makes our medical fields the best in the world, we are also wide open to frivolous lawsuits. Our FDA gets tied up with political and legal battles besides just the science aspects to keep many treatments from being approved. The Xcel Center in Germany is an excellent facility and the treatments they offer will only aid people that are willing to let them.
    What's his level of injury?

    Is he complete or incomplete?

    Has he seen any return of bodily functions?

    Could you point us in the direction of any positive testimonials
    about this treatment from complete injuries?

    Are you aware of the research being conducted by Dr. Stephen
    Davies in Denver?

    Thank you.

  7. #7
    The Denver News article is poorly structured as it confuses the experimental procedure the pastor underwent in Germany with the research of Dr. Davies. Unless you read carefully and are well-informed, as are most members of Care Cure, you might think that Dr. Davies is endorsing the German treatment.

    Whatever... I'd like for someone to explain the biology behind taking adult stem cells from the bone marrow (which are hematopoietic cells) and injecting them into the spinal cord offers the promise of a cure. Is there an interim step where they are differentiated? That itself would be mind blowing.

    The story is very light on details and therefore lends itself to skepticism.

    John
    Last edited by john smith; 02-20-2009 at 12:15 AM. Reason: misspelled a word
    "Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence." Lin Yutang

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by john smith View Post
    The Denver News article is poorly structured as it confuses the experimental procedure the pastor underwent in Germany with the research of Dr. Davies. Unless you read carefully and are well-informed, as are most members of Care Cure, you might think that Dr. Davies is endorsing the German treatment.

    Whatever... I'd like for someone to explain the biology behind taking adult stem cells from the bone marrow (which are hematopoietic cells) and injecting them into the spinal cord offers the promise of a cure. Is there an interim step where they are differentiated? That itself would be mind blowing.

    The story is very light on details and therefore lends itself to skepticism.

    John
    John,

    As you pointed out, this is not a good story or responsible news reporting. The reporter took a story of a man who went to Germany to get bone marrow cells, processed, and then presumably re-injected back into him. The story did not provide any details about the processing, where the cells were injected, or how much the procedure cost. It did not interview any scientist about the accuracy of the information or the promise of this therapy. It presents the work of Stephen Davies, which has nothing to do with this treatment at all.

    Unfortunately, not much has been published about what X-cells are doing with the cells. It is not clear from their web site or any available information what X-cells is doing with the cells and how the cells are being re-implanted into people. From the postings of people on this site, I gather that the cells are being isolated from the bone marrow (but not expanded, i.e. grown so that they would have larger numbers) and then re-injected intravenously (or perhaps intrathecally into cerebrospinal fluid).

    There have been several animal studies reporting that bone marrow cells, particularly stromal stem cells or mesenchymal stem cells, may have some beneficial effects on acute spinal cord injury. Recent studies in human clinical trials of mesenchymal stem cells in patients with graft-versus-host-disease suggest that mesenchymal stem cells are anti-immune, i.e. they turn off immune cells. Thus, if these cells are injected into the spinal cord shortly after injury (or even days or weeks after injury), they may suppress inflammation or immune cells and therefore improve functional recovery in the animals. This may account for some reports of beneficial effects of these cells on spinal cord.

    While there have been claims that mesenchymal stem cells make neurons in culture, I have not seen any credible report that they will make neurons that replace ones that have been lost when transplanted into the brain or spinal cord. Likewise, there have been some reports that mesenchymal and bone marrow stromal cells can stimulate remyelination. In almost all these reports, the cells have to be injected into the spinal cord. There is little evidence that when you inject these cells in the bloodstream or intrathecally that they are beneficial, particularly for chronic spinal cord injury.

    I do understand the motivation expressed by Pastor Dave Castnor. Like many on this site, he wanted to try some therapy, any therapy. He chose this particular therapy based on its non-controversial nature and because it was accessible. To my knowledge, there is no animal or human clinical trial data that indicate that the treatment is effective in chronic spinal cord injury. Certainly, there is no evidence that would justify anybody charging for this therapy as a promising therapy for spinal cord injury given in this manner. Pastor Castnor clearly understands this because he commented that if this therapy does not work, that is a chance he is taking.

    The extent to which one can castigate X-cells for offering this therapy is also open to discussion. There are some who might say that what X-cells is reprehensible because they are providing false hope to people, and that they are breaking an important ethical rule of providing unproven experimental therapies for payment. To tell you the truth, I don't see any outrageous claims on their web site. I think that they are able to do this legally because of a loophole in regulations that allow doctors to move cells and tissues from one part of the body to another without without having to get anybody's approval. Particularly if the cells have not been significantly manipulated, grown, or retreated with drugs, most regulatory agencies do not regulate this kind of therapy. So, I think that what X-cells is doing is probably legal.

    However, I do think that it is unfortunate that neither X-cells or the doctors who are applying this therapy are apparently doing anything to document whether this treatment is effective and safe. They are clearly doing it only for the money. I was recently called by the BBC, who will apparently be airing a show on this subject but focussing on clinics in India and China, particularly Geeta Shroff's clinic and Beike Biotechnology in Shenzhen. In my opinion, what these two places are doing is more reprehensible. They are actually recruiting patients with misleading claims of efficacy and safety for which there is no data. In my opinion, this is unacceptable.

    There is one thing, however, that I think that the German government should do, if they are not doing so. Since X-cell is processing the cells that are then being used to treat patients, it is important that X-cells provide evidence that they are doing this correctly and well. It doesn't matter if it is the patient's own cells. If the cells are contaminated in any way (including AIDS or some infectious disease) or exposed to animal serums or other proteins (which may be harmful to the patient), the processing should be regulated. Somebody needs to ensure that the final product that they are providing to the patients is suitable for human use.

    Wise.
    Last edited by Wise Young; 02-20-2009 at 10:03 AM.

  9. #9
    Unfortunately, not much has been published about what X-cells are doing with the cells. It is not clear from their web site or any available information what X-cells is doing with the cells and how the cells are being re-implanted into people.
    I've seen an information video from the site where they, in a rather detailed way, explained what they do, and where they inject the cells back into SCI patients.
    (I believe it was in the lumbar region, but I'm not sure, I will go investigate)


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