"My real resume was in my cells." Vincent Freeman in "Gattaca"
How many times do you hear or read: The future is here? Well, for the first time, I really believe that the future of treating IC/PBS in a completely new and exciting way has arrived and it is both encouraging and inspiring. Once again the introduction to the doctor that I will introduce in this blog entry and his treatments for IC/PBS, was done out of kindness and advocacy for IC patients, and I would like to publicly thank this professional in the world of IC for introducing me to Dr. Elliot Lander.
I had the honor of being introduced to Dr. Elliot Lander-once again through the virtual world-and then via telephone and although our first phone conversation was brief, I felt so very hopeful for the millions of people suffering from IC/PBS. Imagine a treatment for IC/PBS (or other degenerative diseases) that utilizes your body's own stem cells, conducted in a center specializing in stem cell therapy, completely supported by a team of dedicated doctors that are blazing a trail in this area? After my conversations with Dr. Lander I realized that no longer will one have to imagine this scenario: one can become a part of it! The excitement Dr. Landers has about stem cell therapy and the limitless possibilities for how stem cells can help people suffering from IC/PBS (and other degenerative diseases) is contagious and when he said "I believe stem cells are the wave of the future in medical science" I believed him and realized that the technologies he was speaking about are happening right now. Today.
Dr. Lander has an extensive background in biochemistry and has worked in the field of urology and general surgery. Most recently he has worked in the field of Male Hormone Replacement therapy as well as ground-breaking work in urologic stem cell therapy. Dr. Landers, along with Dr. Berman and Dr. Braslow, have been working with adult mesenchymal (non-embryonic) stem cells to study the benefits of: harvesting the patients own adipose (fat)-derived stem cells through out-patient surgery, and then reimplanting the adipose cells back into the patient in order for those cells to seek out and regenerate the cells in parts of the body that have become damaged (like the bladder in IC/PBS patients). Drs. Lander, Berman and Braslow have recently formed the California Stem Cell Treatment Center out of Rancho Mirage, CA where they will begin to provide stem cell therapy treatments to patients suffering from a multitude of degenerative diseases (including IC/PBS). Here is their website, I would highly encourage setting aside some time to read through this website as it very well put together and has a lot of information about stem cell therapy and includes a hyper-link to a PDF file explaining the potential benefits of stem cell therapies for IC/PBS patients:http://www.stemcellrevolution.com/
It is important to point out that stem cell therapy is not FDA approved here in the United States and so the work that is being done at the California Stem Cell Treatment Center is being conducted as patient-funded pilot studies to provide further data points for adipose-derived stem cell research, which began in China. The doctors at the California Stem Cell Treatment Center are initially offering adipose stem cell therapy at half-price in the amount of: $4500.00 U.S. It is this demonstration of generosity and the courage to carve a path in unchartered territory here in the U.S. that the work that Dr. Lander and his colleagues are undergoing brings me great hope for the millions suffering from IC/PBS.
Dr. Lander has been working closely with Jill Osborne, President and Founder of the IC Network and in one of their conversations he explained the benefits of utilizing stem cell treatment for IC/PBS in a nutshell: "Stem cells treat degeneration and inflammation on a systemic level, naturally focusing on the body parts most afflicted but not ignoring the overall extent of disease." This makes sense on so many levels because I have talked with countless IC patients who feel that IC pain and symptoms seem to be about more than simply their bladder. Perhaps that explains why current and past IC treatments which focused solely on treating the bladder have not been completely successful, for instance there are a countless number of IC patients that were in excruciating pain who opted to have their bladders removed, only to discover to their horror that the pain of IC remained.
The future for treating IC/PBS patients with stem cell therapy is here and it is happening now. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Lander and to hear about the work of adipose stem cells and the opening of the California Stem Cell Treatment Center in California. I wish Dr. Lander and his colleagues much success in this arena and I look forward to hearing how stem cell therapy assists those suffering from IC/PBS.