Eight years ago, Frank Orgel, a former NFL football player and college coach, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Orgel's quality of life declined to the point that he could not move his left arm or leg, walk or even stand on his own.
But, within a few days of undergoing a new stem cell reprogramming technique performed by Dr. Jason R. Williams at Precision StemCell (http://www.precisionstemcell.com), Orgel's constant muscle fasciculation (muscle twitching) lessened significantly.
Within weeks, he was able to walk in a pool of water and stand unassisted.
The technique performed on Orgel is InVivo reprogramming, which reprograms adult stem cells into neural stem cells.
The procedure involves harvesting adult stem cells from the patient's own fat, which Dr. Williams obtains via minimally invasive liposuction, and then using image-guided therapy to insert the stem cells into the patient's spine.
For three to five days after the procedure, Dr. Williams places the patient on an oral medication that, as laboratory research has shown, causes stem cells to reprogram, converting them into neural stem cells.
"We are the only facility in the United States performing the InVivo reprogramming procedure," said Dr. Williams. "Frank was the first patient in the world, that we are aware of, to have the procedure done."
Orgel attests to the efficacy of the new procedure. "My leg normally drags and would have to be moved for me, but now I'm able to move it myself," he stated. "I feel that this is definite improvement."
Dr. Williams, a radiologist who specializes in image-guided procedures, had already been performing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), ultrasound and fluoroscopy-guided stem cell injections for joint and orthopedic conditions.
"This new technique of InVivo reprogramming shows great promise for possibly repairing or regenerating nerve cells," he stated. "That means it may open up opportunities for treating several neural conditions such as spinal cord injury, stroke, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease."
"We are really excited that this technique can help increase the number of neural stem cells that are transferred back into the patient," continued Dr. Williams.
Dr. Williams continued, "We are hopeful that this will indeed help us heal or regrow nerve cells; however, it is still too soon to really know."