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Old 04-22-2012, 03:47 PM   #1
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Default I Guess Stem Cells Are Not Considered Performance Enhancing Drugs

Former Alabama football players get stem cell injections from Gulf Shores doctor



Published: Sunday, April 22, 2012, 7:07 AM By Casandra Andrews, Press-Register




MOBILE, Alabama -- At the end of this past season with the Oakland Raiders, an aching Rolando McClain gave an assignment to his agent: Find out more about stem cell therapies for injuries, like other athletes are trying.

“I’ve been having two seasons of nagging pain in my knee,” the former University of Alabama standout said.

Not long afterward, McClain was on his way to Gulf Shores.

There, radiologist Jason R. Williams performed liposuction on McClain and then injected stem cells from the linebacker’s own fat cells into his knee and into the area of a high ankle sprain.

“It feels a lot better,” McClain said in an interview last week, adding that he’s working out four days a week with the Raiders, running, lifting weights, doing squats and even sprinting “with hardly any pain at all.”

About three months ago, Williams, 38, began the new procedure in which he injects patients -- two of them being McClain and former University of Alabama receiver Marquis Maze -- with their own stem cells in an effort to repair damaged joints and muscles.

“This is going to be the future of medicine,” said Williams, who owns Precision StemCell, which includes a diagnostic and interventional radiology practice in Gulf Shores.

Stem cells, sometimes called the body’s master cells, are precursor cells that develop into blood, bones and organs, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates their use.

Their promise in medicine, according to many scientists and doctors, is that the cells have the potential to help and regenerate other cells.

While Williams’ treatments are considered investigational, he said, they meet FDA guidelines since the stem cells are collected from a patient’s fat tissue and administered back to that patient during the same procedure.


Because of their experimental nature, stem cell injections to remedy conditions such as damaged knee joints or injured muscles are not covered by insurance. A typical stem cell therapy with Williams costs about $15,000. The collection of the cells through liposuction, he said, makes up about half of the overall price.

Williams said he spent about four years researching various stem cell therapies, including those collected from bone marrow. He said that the adult stem cells derived from fat tissue seemed to bring fewer chances for complications.

Harvesting stem cells from a patient’s own fat removes the need to culture cells, Williams said, explaining that culturing stem cells can be a weeks-long process that may expose patients to risks such as infection.

In recent years, professional athletes such as Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and New York Yankees pitcher Bartolo Colon, among dozens of others, have acknowledged seeking stem cell injections outside the U.S. to try to help heal injuries.


FDA urges caution

In January, the FDA issued a consumer warning about claims regarding stem cells.

In it, Stephanie Simek, deputy director of the FDA’s Office of Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies, said that stem cells from bone marrow or blood are routinely used in transplant procedures to treat cancer and disorders of the blood and immune system.

The document cautioned consumers, however, to make sure that stem cell therapy treatments have been approved by the FDA or are being studied under a clinical investigation allowed to proceed by the agency.

“There is a potential safety risk when you put cells in an area where they are not performing the same biological function as they were when in their original location in the body,” Simek said.

Cells in a different environment may multiply, form tumors, or may migrate elsewhere in the body from the spot where they were placed, according to the FDA warning.

In March 2008, a group of pain management doctors published the first study of successful cartilage regeneration in a human knee using adult stem cells, although those cells were not derived from fat.


While several dozen clinical trials involving various forms of stem cell therapies are under way or have been announced around the world, few have included adult stem cells found in fat tissue.

Williams said that universities and research groups have been slow to move forward because research funding tends to steer toward new drug therapies.

He said that he is up front with his patients, telling them that results cannot be predicted.

“It might not work for everybody. There’s a lot of cases that we are taking on right now that have never really been done. It’s the type of thing that if it works, it will be monumental,” he said.

Williams said he feels it is safe to inject someone’s own fat cells back into his or her own body. “There’s been no evidence of problems,” he said.

He said that similar injections have been performed in Asian hospitals and clinics for several years.

Stem cell therapies also have been successfully used in veterinary medicine -- in horses, cats and dogs -- to treat everything from heart attacks to tendon and ligament damage.


How it works

Here’s how Williams said his stem cell therapy procedure works:

Once collected in a tube through liposuction, the fat tissue is processed to separate the adult stem cells. Those cells do not leave the container until being returned to the patient. Williams injects the minimally processed stem cells the same day -- about two hours later -- under computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance.

To give the greatest possible benefit, stem cells must be injected into the exact location of an injury, Williams said. When a doctor uses CT scans or an MRI for guidance, there’s a better chance of putting the cells in the correct location.

The results, so far, have been startling, Williams said: “I was expecting some improvement. They’ve got cartilage regrowth. It’s unbelievable to see those changes.”

During the 2012 BCS National Championship game against LSU, Marquis Maze almost returned a punt for a touchdown before partially tearing a hamstring. Television cameras captured Maze on the sideline, visibly shaken by the game-ending injury.

About a month ago, after talking to McClain and another of Williams’ patients, Mobile car dealership manager Mitch McConnell, Maze received a stem cell injection in his hamstring at the Gulf Shores clinic.

The 24-year old Maze said that the pain in his leg subsided in about two weeks. “I don’t feel any tightness in it,” he said last week, adding that he’s been running and working out daily as the NFL draft approaches.


A path to stem cell therapy

After earning a medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, Williams began an internship in internal medicine at the University of South Alabama and a residency in radiology at USA.

After a few years, he took a leave of absence from USA to treat cancer patients that many other doctors wouldn’t with novel therapies such as cancer ablation from a practice he established in Gulf Shores in 2004.

He eventually returned to USA, completed his residency and took a job in Mississippi, becoming director of radiology for Northwest Regional Medical Center in Clarksdale.

In 2009, he opened an image-guided radiology clinic in Gulf Shores, recently renaming it Precision StemCell.

As he pored over ways to deliver stem cells to patients, he said, he became interested in the company Medi-Khan, with roots in Korea, because it offered a patented enclosed system for harvesting the adipose tissue.

Williams said that Medi-Khan staff members came to his office and taught him how to use the system.

Bob Hubbard, director of stem cell therapy at the clinic, and a former assistant basketball coach at the University of Alabama, received stem cell injections himself a few months ago to treat a torn ligament in his knee, among other issues.

“Within two weeks we actually had increased cartilage in my knee,” said Hubbard, a physician’s assistant before his career in coaching. “I think it’s absolutely a medical marvel and it’s going to change the way we practice medicine in this country.”





http://blog.al.com/live/2012/04/stem...offered_b.html
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:43 PM   #2
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Go Williams! More medicine needs to get away from the drug mentalityand look at self healing.

I had a neighbor who had cancer and receiving stem cell treatments in Mexico...there is an entire generation of medical tourists who reside/retire in Mexico for these and other treatments that the FDA disapproves of. FDA is a joke...overpaid and funded by the pharms lobbyists.

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Old 04-22-2012, 04:45 PM   #3
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Vegas_Bronco View Post
I had a neighbor who had cancer and receiving stem cell treatments in Mexico...there is an entire generation of medical tourists who reside/retire in Mexico for these and other treatments that the FDA disapproves of. FDA is a joke...overpaid and funded by the pharms lobbyists.
I agree. The issue is it needs to not be a bought out joke so public health is protected.

Then again, I'd argue the same thing for both parties in DC right now.
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:20 PM   #5
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FDA is a joke...overpaid and funded by the pharms lobbyists.
Agreed.

Unfortunately, the money is in treating the sicknesses, not the cures.
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:37 PM   #6
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you guys watch too many conspiracy movies.

without the advancements made by private pharmaceutical companies using their own money, your lives would all be shorter and more painful.

i honestly don't understand what has happened to reason and common sense anymore. we have idiot parents who won't let their kids get vaccinated based on completely bogus junk science warning them against it. we have parents who won't let their kids use tap water because it's flouridated. we even have a whole bunch of crackpots who think these companies know a cure for cancer but are deliberately hiding it.

newsflash... the people running these companies have kids too. they are not out to poison or exploit anyone. they want to cure the world's diseases, but they also want to make a living doing it. there is nothing wrong with that and they've made our average lifespan go up every year for decades.

if you want to live without vaccines or flouridated water or the benefits of modern medicine and pharmaceuticals, i'm sure you can find a nice spot in the Congo or Rwanda or Liberia where you'll be free from those "awful" things. your lifespan will also be about 40 years as well.

Last edited by Gort; 04-23-2012 at 08:45 AM..
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:59 PM   #7
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:01 PM   #8
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without the advancements made by private pharmaceutical companies using their own money, your lives would all be shorter and more painful.
Sorry I need to backtrack here somewhat. My issue isn't with big pharma (though the ads on TV being legal here is RIDICULOUS) it's with the FDA itself, which fast tracks potentially dangerous drugs. Meh still irrelevant. ****ing tired and at work. None of my argument is coherent at this point.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:03 PM   #9
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What is your reasoning for considering this procedure a "performance enhancing drug"?
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:18 PM   #10
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My issue isn't with big pharma (though the ads on TV being legal here is RIDICULOUS)
Seen this one?

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Old 04-22-2012, 07:59 PM   #11
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Sorry I need to backtrack here somewhat. My issue isn't with big pharma (though the ads on TV being legal here is RIDICULOUS) it's with the FDA itself, which fast tracks potentially dangerous drugs. Meh still irrelevant. ****ing tired and at work. None of my argument is coherent at this point.
Good clarification.

The FDA fast tracks dangerous drugs and procedures, AND it blocks others.

The disc replacement surgery my brother received in Germany in 2004 is a good example of this. The FDA finally approved single-level disc replacement in 2005...Germany had been doing it since the 80's. My brother received two-level disc replacement, which is still considered "experimental" in the US...Germany had been doing that since the 80's as well.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:02 PM   #12
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Good clarification.

The FDA fast tracks dangerous drugs and procedures, AND it blocks others.

The disc replacement surgery my brother received in Germany in 2004 is a good example of this. The FDA finally approved single-level disc replacement in 2005...Germany had been doing it since the 80's. My brother received two-level disc replacement, which is still considered "experimental" in the US...Germany had been doing that since the 80's as well.
So what is his physical status now from the spine operation?
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:14 PM   #13
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you guys watch too many conspiracy movies.

without the advancements made by private pharmaceutical companies using their own money, your lives would all be shorter and more painful.

i honestly don't understand what has happened to reason and common sense anymore. we have idiot parents who won't let their kids get vaccinated based on completely bogus junk science warning them against it. we have parents who won't let their kids use tap water because it's flouridated. we even have a whole bunch of crackpots who think these companies know a cure for cancer but are deliberately hiding it.

newsflash... the people running these companies have kids too. they are not out to poison or exploit anyone. they want to cure the world's diseases, but they also want to make a living doing it. there is nothing wrong with that and they've made our average lifespan go up every year for decades.

if you want to live without vaccines or flourinated water or the benefits of modern medicine and pharmaceuticals, i'm sure you can find a nice spot in the Congo or Rwanda or Liberia where you'll be free from those "awful" things. your lifespan will also be about 40 years as well.
Companies aren't out to exploit anyone? Haha, whatever you say cockstache.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:52 PM   #14
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So what is his physical status now from the spine operation?
He's fit as a fiddle.

He's in his 40's, 6'8", played college and semi-pro baseball and college basketball for years...his height and lifestyle pretty much destroyed his spine in the L3-L5 (if I remember correctly) area. He had numbness in his arm, hand and both legs. Went to a symposium in CA where he was referred to a doctor from the Alpha Klinik in Munich. They replaced two discs via a surgery where they went in through the front, and we were literally walking in downtown Munich two days after the surgery. The previous 4 back surgeries he had laid him up for weeks/months.

Now, he plays golf, hockey, and is an umpire in So Cal. He can pick up his kids, and he lives a normal life...outside of the massive cost of the surgery, which of course was not covered by his insurance company. The reason? "Experimental" surgery.

As the doctor who did the surgery told him (imagine him saying this with a thick Dutch accent -- it's hilarious) "Your back will be fine. You can get in an auto accident at 200 kilometers per hour. Of course we do not recommend this."
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:12 PM   #15
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Agreed.

Unfortunately, the money is in treating the sicknesses, not the cures.
Nor prevention.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:31 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by WhoIsJohnGalt View Post
you guys watch too many conspiracy movies.

without the advancements made by private pharmaceutical companies using their own money, your lives would all be shorter and more painful.

i honestly don't understand what has happened to reason and common sense anymore. we have idiot parents who won't let their kids get vaccinated based on completely bogus junk science warning them against it. we have parents who won't let their kids use tap water because it's flouridated. we even have a whole bunch of crackpots who think these companies know a cure for cancer but are deliberately hiding it.

newsflash... the people running these companies have kids too. they are not out to poison or exploit anyone. they want to cure the world's diseases, but they also want to make a living doing it. there is nothing wrong with that and they've made our average lifespan go up every year for decades.

if you want to live without vaccines or flourinated water or the benefits of modern medicine and pharmaceuticals, i'm sure you can find a nice spot in the Congo or Rwanda or Liberia where you'll be free from those "awful" things. your lifespan will also be about 40 years as well.
Actually that's a bit inconsistent! People who received those vaccines were not actually wrong from getting them. Viruses like most living organisms adapt to survive. Which means the small pox back in the day is not the same small box now. It has mutated it's genome to survive! Sparing you the details of how it actually happens, the vaccines aren't always the problem. The problem is after a researcher discovers a cure for the diseases he is no longer funded meaning he loses his job. So the profit is in vaccine, and it's lobbyists that actually mess it up for everybody. Most companies (unless you work for the government) jobs are not that secure as you want to believe. So lobbyist take advantage of the companies.
But not to get all political I think stem cell therapy is awesome. It really assist in repairing your body and doesn't really improve strength or anything. It was a bit ridiculous how the last president banned it and cut funding TREMENDOUSLY on science which we are still pretty much struggling to get back on track (although it's getting better). AGAIN, I don't want to get political just take this post as an innocent young immunologist/geneticist just voicing his opinion!
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:08 PM   #17
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What is your reasoning for considering this procedure a "performance enhancing drug"?
I'm stupid.

That said, the "it happens in one operation" logic seems silly. If that's a critical factor, they're silly as well.

That said, how does this differ from HGH? I don't know much (See above) about the things but I have a hard time saying anything should be illegal if it clearly leads back to a quicker health. However, if HGH is illegal, it seems like this should be for a similar reason. If an experimental treatment for which the risks are unknown is allowing some to recover faster than others...?
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:21 PM   #18
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I'm stupid.

That said, the "it happens in one operation" logic seems silly. If that's a critical factor, they're silly as well.

That said, how does this differ from HGH? I don't know much (See above) about the things but I have a hard time saying anything should be illegal if it clearly leads back to a quicker health. However, if HGH is illegal, it seems like this should be for a similar reason. If an experimental treatment for which the risks are unknown is allowing some to recover faster than others...?
I imagine even HGH would be permissible in the NFL with a legitimate medical reason behind it. All of these examples seem pretty legitimate to me and considering how the procedure works (and how much it costs) I can't see a significant number of people doing this without a legitimate reason.
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:13 AM   #19
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Companies aren't out to exploit anyone? Haha, whatever you say cockstache.
then go live in Rwanda where you can be free of the "exploiters" you stupid dick smoker.
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:18 AM   #20
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Actually that's a bit inconsistent! People who received those vaccines were not actually wrong from getting them. Viruses like most living organisms adapt to survive. Which means the small pox back in the day is not the same small box now. It has mutated it's genome to survive! Sparing you the details of how it actually happens, the vaccines aren't always the problem. The problem is after a researcher discovers a cure for the diseases he is no longer funded meaning he loses his job. So the profit is in vaccine, and it's lobbyists that actually mess it up for everybody. Most companies (unless you work for the government) jobs are not that secure as you want to believe. So lobbyist take advantage of the companies.
But not to get all political I think stem cell therapy is awesome. It really assist in repairing your body and doesn't really improve strength or anything. It was a bit ridiculous how the last president banned it and cut funding TREMENDOUSLY on science which we are still pretty much struggling to get back on track (although it's getting better). AGAIN, I don't want to get political just take this post as an innocent young immunologist/geneticist just voicing his opinion!
Bush didn't ban it.

there are no restrictions on adult stem cell research.

Bush also allowed research on existing embryonic stem cells to continue.

what he stopped was the funding for and the creation of new embryonic stem cells because that actually requires the killing of a living being.

of course, this is all related to government funding. anybody can research anything they want using their own money.

so not to bring politics into it, but you did anyway and not even accurately.

Last edited by Gort; 04-23-2012 at 03:24 AM..
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Old 04-23-2012, 04:57 AM   #21
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There is no longer any need to research embryonic stem cells. Scientists can now get stem cells from your adult stem cells, usually fibroblasts, that have the same pluripotency as embryonic. Induced pluripotent stem cells are better because they will not be recognized as foreign by the immune system (won't require immune suppressive drugs) and don't require killing an embryo. However they must be reprogrammed, cultured, and then partially induced to the precursor of the desired cell type. This cannot bet done in a couple of hours.

It is extremely important not to inject completely undifferentiated stem cells into your body. Some of the cells will differentiate into the correct tissue, but some will become something else (teratoma). For instance the patient could get hair or teeth in his joint. The only way this procedure makes sense is if adipose (fat tissue) and the cells in the joint share a common precursor that does not differentiate into something else.
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:02 AM   #22
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There is no longer any need to research embryonic stem cells. Scientists can now get stem cells from your adult stem cells, usually fibroblasts, that have the same pluripotency as embryonic. Induced pluripotent stem cells are better because they will not be recognized as foreign by the immune system (won't require immune suppressive drugs) and don't require killing an embryo. However they must be reprogrammed, cultured, and then partially induced to the precursor of the desired cell type. This cannot bet done in a couple of hours.

It is extremely important not to inject completely undifferentiated stem cells into your body. Some of the cells will differentiate into the correct tissue, but some will become something else (teratoma). For instance the patient could get hair or teeth in his joint. The only way this procedure makes sense is if adipose (fat tissue) and the cells in the joint share a common precursor that does not differentiate into something else.
So if one were to reduce your post to the level that you'd find on a Bubble Yum wrapper, is he limited to just fat possible in his knee since it came from fat?
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:28 AM   #23
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you guys watch too many conspiracy movies.

without the advancements made by private pharmaceutical companies using their own money, your lives would all be shorter and more painful.

i honestly don't understand what has happened to reason and common sense anymore.
Here's some common sense for you:

1) Pharmaceutical companies exist to make a profit.

2) There is more profit to be made in long-term drug regimens that keep diseases under control than outright cures.

3) Pharmaceutical companies therefore do not try to develop actual cures for diseases.

Couldn't get much more "common sense" than that.
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:40 AM   #24
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Yeah because no money would be made on cures and vaccines to actual diseases. It wouldn't be a huge PR and profit boon for them to be the first to cure cancer. And they are all in collusion with each other, right? Just need to take some calcium and Aids will go away, right?
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:46 AM   #25
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Yeah because no money would be made on cures and vaccines to actual diseases. It wouldn't be a huge PR and profit boon for them to be the first to cure cancer. And they are all in collusion with each other, right? Just need to take some calcium and Aids will go away, right?
You actually think there is a profit to be made in curing diseases? Especially compared to developing long-term treatments instead?

The naiveté of people never ceases to amuse me...
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