This post stems from the questions I have been getting since the 60 minutes episode aired this past week. If you didn't see it, there was a story on stem cell treatments and the "doctors" out there that are scamming patients with degenerative diseases. Diseases such as Parkinsons, ALS, and MS. There truly is no known cure for these diseases, which is a long conversation we have had with one of the doctors we are considering working with. Dr. Lopez was extra frustrated with the doctors, in Mexico in particular, who are telling patients that they can cure them of these diseases, which is not true. His deepest frustrations come because stem cells truly are amazing and can help so many people in our world, and it is the scammers (like the doctors on 60 minutes) that are going to ruin this cutting edge medicine for everyone.
These researchers on 60 minutes made a bold statement by saying that stem cells help nothing more than leukemia and other blood disorders to date. This must be their area of research, because if they looked much further they would see that this is not the case. In my mind, this is what is wrong with our media today. They continually fail to give us the entire picture, and if we all only listen to one thing we hear, how does this make us a better, more educated society?
How does this relate to Lila, you ask? Well, Lila does not have a degenerative disease. Cerebral Palsy (CP) is not a disease that gets progressively worse over time. We continue to see progress in her, be it slow. In patients who have MS or ALS, it has been seen that they will experience something positive for a very short period of time, and then continue to get worse again. With CP, all changes that occur from stem cell treatments will be permanent. As a matter of fact, kids have seen some absolutely amazing transformations from stem cell treatments.
I don't know if you all remember my first post where I attached a link about a child from New Zealand with CP, and they also interviewed a child from the US with CP? Well, I have attached it below for those of you who missed it. I have also attached a site that describes the benefits of stem cells in a child with CP, and brain altering studies with stem cells.
http://www.stemcelltherapies.org/umresearch/cerebral-palsy.html (these are not the doctors we intend to use, but their site holds some very valuable info)
http://www.healing-arts.org/children/cp/cpstemcell.htm#New Cells (studies of stem cells altering specialized regions in the brain)
http://www.3news.co.nz/Video/60Minutes/tabid/371/articleID/89418/cat/46/Default.aspx#video (original video from post)
For over a year now, we have been researching, gathering testimonials from parents, and taking a fine tooth comb to this idea of stem cell therapy for Lila . We have come across some amazing resources that have helped us to weed out the scammers, have taught us to know what to look for in a doctor, to know what questions to ask, and to immediately spot red flags. These 60 minutes doctors were charging $125,000 for an ALS patient to have a treatment. If that's not a red flag, I don't know what is! A typical treatment is between $12,000 and $35,000, and holds true from Germany to Mexico to China.
There is an organization out there that is called the Repair Stem Cell Institute, which is a free service to anyone interested in stem cell treatments, for a various causes/diseases. This foundation has gone out there and legitimately hand-picked the scammers, while continuing to recommend the honest, truthful, and whole-hearted doctors to patients who are the right candidates. They have even educated us on which doctors specialize in CP versus spinal cord injuries versus eye disorders. These doctors have to go through a gamut of questions, prove which licenses they hold, and prove that they are approved by the FDA (within their Country). They have helped us to weed out a lot of the bad guys, and get to the two final doctors we are planning to work with.
Lastly, and most importantly, have been the families from across the continent that we have been in touch with over the past year. These are not families that the doctors recommended we contact. These are families that I searched out through special needs groups on line, so they are unbiased, and consequently full of positive experiences! They have shared their experiences with the doctors they have chosen to use, and lead us in the right direction.
So, thank you all for your concern. We feel that God is leading us on the right path for Lila, and will continue to hold our hand along the way.