Multiple Sclerosis Cured in Canadian Patient After Stem Cell Treatment

(Stem Cells News image)

Yes, Another Canada Flag
Image by Cuppojoe via Flickr

Alex Normandin, 26, of Montreal, Canada has been cured of his Multiple Sclerosis following the implantation of his own Adult Stem Cells. The stem cell therapy was done in conjunction with a research program in Ottawa with Dr. Mark Freedman.

A medical student, Alex was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis more than 2 years ago and was distressed to learn that he had the aggressive form of MS and was on track to be in a wheelchair in a matter of months.

Process of Stem Cells for Multiple Sclerosis in Canada

Luckily, he was accepted into Dr. Freedman’s stem cell research program at Ottawa General Hospital. In this stem cell program, the patient is first given chemotherapy to kill off the immune system. Then, the stem cell transplant takes place to “reboot” the immune system.

From the stem cell article:

Normandin became patient 19. His transplant took place in December 2008. It worked.

Not only does the disease appear to have stopped its progression, but Normandin says he feels his co-ordination and strength improving.

Normandin is buoyed by the treatment’s eight-year track record — none of the 24 patients have suffered a relapse or a brain lesion. (The article fails to mention the one patient who died from the chemo)

Stem Cell Therapy in China Quote Remembered

Readers of this blog may remember Dr. Freedman from this Multiple Sclerosis Stem Cell post in which he commented on stem cell therapy in China:

Dr. Freedman is concerned that patients are forking over large amounts of money for unproven treatments like this, especially when there is no follow-up care or monitoring when they get home.

“It’s dangerous in the wrong hands,” he said. “The only reason these places could be in existence is to take people’s money and offer them something that’s unproven.”

I called that the “Most Hypocritical Statement So Far in 2009″ then, and I will stick to that for the following reasons:

  1. Chemotherapy is dangerous.  1 of Dr. Freedman’s patients died while receiving it before the stem cell transplant- to call another treatment dangerous (which doesn’t use chemo, by the way) is hypocritical.
  2. He says the therapies are unproven and only in existence to take people’s money-  however, in this article- it is revealed not only is his own treatment unproven, but it also is not free, in fact, far from free- “The trial procedure costs would be about $50,000 to $60,000 per patient.”  (A reader has since wrote in and says the Canadian Government pays for this treatment)

Actually that cost is more than other stem cell therapies in Costa Rica and China that we have covered in here (both are around $25-30,000) and do NOT use chemo.

So for those people who say that stem cell therapy overseas is very expensive– just look at Canada, or for that matter, look at Dr. Richard Burt’s multiple sclerosis study at Northwestern University in Chicago.  The cost for one multiple sclerosis patient is $90,000

I’m directing  this at critics who always point out that overseas stem cell therapies are expensive and dangerous rather than pointing out the “arrogance” of Dr. Freedman, who as far as I can tell is truly helping Multiple Sclerosis patients although he probably shouldn’t be opening his mouth about other stem cell treatments.

Stem Cell Treatment By The People, For The People

And yes, all of  these stem cell treatments in Canada, USA, Costa Rica, and China are “unproven” in the eyes of the medical world and the New England Journal of Medicine, although they all are proven in the eyes of the patients who receive the Adult Stem Cells whether they are in the form of umbilical cord stem cells (China), mixture of stem cells from the patient’s fat and cord blood stem cells(Costa Rica) and/or Adult Stem Cells given in the form of a stem cell transplant after chemotherapy (Canada, USA).   They all seem to work most of the time FOR THE PATIENTS NOW and that is what is important. Making Multiple Sclerosis patients wait for 10 years or so for the endless cycle of clinical trials in the US and Canada to end just so their doctors can see the words “proven” in a study is a travesty.

The Emergence of the Internet and Self Directed Healthcare

We can ask Jason Upshaw and friends about stem cell therapy in Costa Rica. Or, we can ask Betty Helm about how stem cell therapy in China worked for her MS. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, patients now have a bigger say and more access to information than ever before.

Dr. William Davis at the Heart Scan Blog has a great post on how health care is changing. Much like stockbrokers have disappeared due to online companies like E-trade and Ameritrade, patients can now take a more self directed approach to their health thanks to the internet.

original post by Don Margolis

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