March is the official month of National MS Awareness. More than 2.3 million people worldwide suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease in which the immune system incorrectly attacks healthy tissue in a person’s central nervous system. While MS is not a fatal disease, it affects a person’s vision and mobility, and can even cause paralysis in severe cases.
There is no cure for MS, however, Celltex Therapeutics is using its proprietary stem cell culturing and banking technology to effectively improve the quality of life for those suffering from injuries or vascular, degenerative and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. Through its technology, Celltex is able to isolate, culture and store hundreds of millions of a person’s own adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for use in regenerative therapy.
The process for obtaining a patient’s MSCs begins with a small thumb-sized extraction of abdominal fat. The MSCs are then isolated from the fat, cultured and stored cryogenically for future use. An individual can use his or her banked stem cells for regenerative therapy through infusions or injections performed by licensed physicians.
Debbie Bertrand, a Texas native, is sharing her remarkable story after receiving stem cell therapy using cells banked and grown at Celltex. Bertrand, who was diagnosed with MS in 2001 after experiencing symptoms of numbness in her hands and feet, was left feeling hopeless about her options. After being denied participation in four clinical trials, Bertrand decided to follow a fellow churchgoer’s advice and reach out to Dr. Stanley Jones to learn more about stem cell banking and Celltex Therapeutics.
In October 2011, nearly ten years after Bertrand was diagnosed with MS, she received her first adult stem cell infusion. Shortly after receiving millions of her own stem cells, Bertrand noticed a significant increase in her strength and energy. Nine months after her first infusion, she was no longer wheelchair-bound and now walks with a walker. Additionally, she is now able to forgo daily injections for her MS. These exciting improvements amazed Bertrand’s physician. “You’re getting better and I had nothing to do with it,” her doctor told her.
“I am very happy with the results I have seen – not only do I have my doctor’s blessing, I have never experienced any negative side effects. I still take one oral drug for MS, but I haven’t had daily injections for MS in four years. I hope to see this process help others in my situation, and I am thankful to Celltex for bringing this technology to the United States,” she says. Bertrand will receive her third round of treatment this May at Hospital Galenia in Cancun, Mexico.