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Two recent TheraVitae patients who made their way across the globe to receive Vescell Adult Stem Cell therapy for their heart conditions. Both men are profiled in their local newspapers and their stories here.
In the first article, Florida native, Jack Bodolay has his story told in The Ledger, a prominent newspaper in Central Florida.
In the second article, the East Oregonian details the exploits of James â€œSupermanâ€ Burns and talks about his new mission to spread the word about the wonders of adult stem cell therapy.
Take Heart: Stem Cell Therapy Found to Be promising
By Robin Williams Adams
LAKELAND — Businessman Jack Bodolay went to Thailand for help when Florida doctors couldn’t do anything more to boost his failing heart.
Stem cells from his blood were multiplied by the millions and put into his heart in an experimental procedure to improve the heart’s ability to pump blood.
The treatment at Bangkok Heart Hospital cost him between $30,000 and $35,000. Improvement wasn’t guaranteed.
Not getting it, however, would have meant giving in to his steadily worsening congestive heart failure, which the Lakeland man wasn’t willing to do.
“My thoughts were `I don’t have much time left and I’m going to do what I have to do,’ ” said Bodolay, who is 76.
His ejection fraction — the percentage of blood pumped from the heart each beat — was 20 percent or less when he left for Thailand, he said. Normal pumping ability is 50 percent to 75 percent; below 35 is low.
Four months later, he’s glad he had the procedure. His pumping percentage has increased slightly to 22 or 23, and Bodolay is optimistic that it is going up instead of down.
“I can tell I’m much stronger on the inside than I was,” he said. “If I can make the same progress in the next three months . . . I’ll be in good shape.”
In deciding to get that treatment, he was encouraged by the improved condition of singer Don Ho, well known for “Tiny Bubbles” and “The Hawaiian Wedding Song,” who had the same procedure late last year.
Stem cells heal heart overseas
WESTON – Jim Burns was frustrated.
A heart attack at age 44 left him often fatigued and short of breath. Over the 23 years that followed, doctors performed quadruple bypass surgery, did angioplasty and inserted stents, but his condition gradually worsened. Burns’ options appeared to be dwindling.
“I had probably 50 heart attacks,” he said. “Your heart dies a little at a time.”
Then, one day, he saw a public television program about something called stem cell therapy. Some English researchers testing the procedure on a group of patients, saw incredible improvement, Burns remembered.
He searched the Internet for more information about the therapy and found a biotechnology company in Thailand that specializes in stem cell therapy for heart patients. The company, TheraVitae, uses VesCell stem cell treatments on patients with coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. The company’s Web site claimed an 80 percent success rate after treating over 130 patients.
In stem cell therapy, doctors take stem cells from the patient’s own blood, multiply them in a lab and, later, reinject them into the damaged heart.
The more Burns learned, the more excited he got. Many telephone calls and blood tests later, Burns was winging his way to Thailand with his wife, Melva, with high hopes the procedure would help his weakened heart.
On July 20, doctors withdrew blood from Burns. Five days later, he sat on a steel table in a hospital operating room, watching a monitor as doctors worked.
“It took about 40 minutes,” Burns said. “They put 28 million stem cells into me.”