In the fall of 2009, a nine year old cerebral palsy child, unable to walk , or hold herself up while sitting or even stand flat-footed on the floor was taken to China by her Australian parents for stem cells. The child was the survivor of twins born sixteen weeks prematurely!
The results after only three months were astounding, and RSCI featured her in its 2010 kickoff Newsletter: http://www.repairstemcells.org/newsletters/NL010110.htm
Now we bring you the USA version, a five year old treated with stem cells at Duke after surviving a cord-strangling birth which cost him a huge loss in brain function. Enjoy!
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Five-year-old Dylan Cain battled with a crippling neurological disorder since birth. But now, thanks to a cutting edge stem-cell procedure, along with hyerbaric-oxygen treatments, parents say he is winning the battle of his life.
Dylan Cain was part of a new study at Duke University that used his mother's cord blood-cells to regenerate damaged cells in his brain. Now his mother says she has discovered another treatment that has truly brought Dylan to life.
From the moment Dylan Cain entered into the world, his parents had to fight for him.
She took him with forceps which bruised his eyes and his face," recalls Dylan's mom, Jinger Cain. "...Pulled him out and broke his collar bone, and the cord was around his neck. He wasn't breathing when he was born. He was blue."
Baby Dylan's complication rendered him unable to breathe. Doctors finally were able to resuscitate Dylan after several minutes.
"He peed and breathed at the same time," recalls Mark Cain, Dylan's dad. "He started crying and it was the happiest moment of my life."
A few hours which felt like eons to Dylan's mom. Mother and baby were finally united.
"We had no idea really the depth of the damage that little episode caused for Dylan," recalls Jinger.
As the months passed, Jinger and her husband Mark could tell something was wrong. Dylan wasn't reaching the typical milestones like other infants.
"He wasn't doing anything," Mark remembers. "He wasn't looking at any object. He wasn't making any eye contact."
Then came the first batch of bad news: doctors declared Dylan legally blind at four months old. A little over a year later, he was diagnosed with a severe case of cerebral palsy. The disease constricted Dylan's movement, his eyesight, his ability to learn, as well as his freedom of expression.
The family fought through it, though they and his teachers admit things weren't significantly better as dylan approached his fourth birthday.
"He was screaming, he was throwing things," says Jeannie Hatchett. "He was hitting his head. He was banging his head on the floor."
Then, finally, some good news: Jinger recieved a letter that would dramatically change all of their lives.
"And I cried as I read it," remembers Jinger. "Oh my gosh, Mark! Biocord is doing this study with Duke University. I couldn't even sleep that night. I knew Dylan needed to be in that study," she continued.
Dylan would be one of just 50 children in the country to have his cord blood stem cells injected into his body. Researchers at Duke found that those cells, once injected into the body, could circulate and regenerate damaged cells in patients with brain damage or neurological disorders.
"The next day after his infusion he was bouncing off the walls," tells Mark. "It's like we gave him five candy bars or something. He was just really everywhere. He was making a lot of noises and sitting there laughing at nothing."
His parents say, after his procedure, his vocabularly exploded. The right side of his body that was once rigid is now moving.
Blown away by the results, the family searched far and wide for another procedure that would help keep the momentum going. They found what they were looking for in Bend with a procedure called hyperbarics.
"You can improve the oxygen concentration delivery to various parts of the body," explains Doctor Robert Pinnick. "All of the parts of the body."
At first, doctor Pinnick's staff was a bit skeptical that the chambers would help. But it didn't take long before they were seeing the results.
"There are no members of our team who have any question about whether or not that was beneficial or not for him now," Pinnick believes.
Just a few days after his first treatments in the chamber, Dylan was sleeping better and even his vision improved.
Those behaviors that were so severe and so intimidating to a lot of people are almost gone," Hatchett explains. "You can almost carry on a conversation with him."
A long journey in Dylan's five short years, but a journey with a much brighter future.
"If it's based upon our commitment and our dedication to Dylan," says Jinger, "we'll see anything through to help Dylan have a normal life.
Currently, the hyperbaric treatments aren't covered by insurance. Dylan's mother says her next fight is getting hyperbaric treatments covered by insurance so it's easier for other children who have cerebral palsy to use the treatment.
About three years ago, Eddie Floyd, owner of a pet center in Austin, Texas, felt a severe pain in his chest and rushed to a hospital to find that he had had a heart attack. Afterwards, doctors asked him to participate in a trial that involved adult stem cells being injected into his heart. He got lucky and qualified!
"They (the stem cells) did not cause any kind of rejection, so I didn't have to have any rejection-preventive medicine or anything like that," he explained "They were just generic stem cells that became heart."
Doctors say that within days after a heart attack, damaged cells are sending a signal for help. Millions of stem cells injected into the system respond to those signals, "and it has apparently regenerated the muscle that died during my heart attack," Floyd notes.
He further reports that he has been able to resume normal activity. "There really isn't anything that I can't do because of my heart, that I'm aware of. [But] there are a few things I can't do because of my belly...," the pet store owner joked.
In this study, adult stem cells are harvested from adults between the ages of 18 and 30 and are processed to remove elements that cause rejection.
Adult stem cells are successfully treating more than 70 diseases and conditions, while embryonic stem-cell research has produced zero results. Proof? There have been over 1300 ASC clinical trials registered (from around the world) by the USA National Institutes of Health. The USA itself has over 50 on heart disease alone.
Embryonics? As I never get tired of saying. ZERO—NADA---ZILCH—RIEN---NICHTS---NICHEVO. It is a hoax that never will go to trial in your lifetime because just one cancer death would kill the embryonic hoax forever.
All you have to do is meet Kyle Loh to realize he's a pretty normal kid, except he is on a mission.
"I like dance music a lot," this 16-year-old said as he listened to Lady Gaga on his MacBook Pro.
But elsewhere on his computer is his most recent paper entitled "Chemical Inhibitors of TGF-beta Signaling and Other Molecules Replace Sox-2 in the Pluripotent Reprogramming of Differentiated Human and Marine Cells."
Or, as he explained it in English: "How skin cells can turn into stem cells."
So, yes, Kyle is very smart.
He had to be to to have gone straight from Eighth grade (when he was 13) in Mendham to college (okay, he cheated a little; he spent part of his last year in middle school at the County College of Morris), and then to graduate from Rutgers University in only two and a half years.
Should we mention that while he was 14 and 15, he spent a total of two summers and one semester studying and researching at Harvard's Stem Cell Institute?
His passion is the promise of healing that stem cells can bring to people with various diseases or spinal injuries -- a field he was able to pursue at the UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School which partners with Rutgers.
Kyle's emphasis right now, in light of the ethical debate over using embryonic stem cells for research, is to find a way to turn skin cells into usable stem cells. See above: "Chemical Inhibitors of TGF-beta... " well, you get the idea. But he says he mixes well with all ages, and doesn't feel socially isolated. For example, he likes "The Office" on TV. But when he was asked if he has ever seen Snooki on the "Jersey Shore" program that's all the rage with many young adults, he responded "I think that's way before my time."
We took that as a 'No.'
"He's mature for his age," said his Mom, Doreen Loh, 50, a senior data analyst at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. And while she was concerned about him missing the social life of high school, she said he reassured her by saying, "I'm sorry Mom, I cannot be a cookie cutter son."
What's next for this 16 year old whiz kid?
For starters, he does have a driver's permit.
But this summer he will be studying and researching at the Genome Institute of Singapore, so it seems unlikely he'll get much driving experience there.
This fall, he will pursue his Ph.D. at Stanford and within four years or so hopes to land a research position.
By then he should be 20, or 21 at the outside.