Shenzhen, China –- June 16th, 2006 — Shenzhen Beike Biotechnology Co., Ltd has announced the successful treatment of two spinal cord injury patients with different methods for treatment – one involving surgical transplantation of stem cells directly into the spinal cord and the other without. The announcement was made following two month rehabilitation and evaluation periods by the physicians in their native countries in the U.S.A. and Romania.
In the first half of April 2006, Beike provided umbilical cord stem cells for the treatment of Gerald Allen, a twenty-seven year old American with an incomplete spinal cord injury at the c5-c6 level that occurred on November 2nd, 2002 and Razvan Iordache, a Romanian who also had an incomplete spinal cord injury at the C5-C6 level in 1996. Gerry Allen had surgical implantation of UBC cells during a two ½ hour procedure that included decompression and injection of stem cells below and above the injury. The surgical injection was complimented by both intravenous injections (2) and injections into the cerebral spinal cord fluid (2) spread out five to seven days over his five week treatment. Razvan Iordache had injections into his spinal cord fluid (4) and an intravenous injection (1) over his six week treatment. Due to national regulations neither patient could receive treatment in their own countries.
Treatments for leukemia and other diseases with umbilical cord blood stem cells have been performed for years. However, the treatment of stroke patients and those with other neurological diseases with stem cells from human umbilical cords has become increasingly popular only recently. Today, treatments for neurological diseases using umbilical cord blood is being taken forward by countries outside the United States, including China, as FDA approval takes longer.
Both patients has been doing rehabilitation for years following their accidents but had not been gaining improvements for a long time before for coming to China. In the United States, Gerald Allen’s doctors had actually stopped prescribing rehabilitation a year before because he had not been making improvements. After the treatments, Gerald was able to sweat below his neck all the way down to his legs for the first time since his accident, he regained sensation of hot and cold on his body and he gained increased mobility both in his legs and arms. When he returned home, his doctor immediately prescribed rehabilitation for him because he saw he had made progress again. Razvan gained sensation from below his chest down to his legs where he did not have any before and was able to move his fingers and stomach muscles which he could not do before. His bladder control improved as well.
Gerald Allen said “I was pretty skeptical before going for treatment but they put me in touch with some other patients who had been treated there and that calmed my nerves. I am really happy that I went as while for some being able to grab things or take steps backward when you could not before does not sound like a big deal, for me it is awesome. Being able to sweat may also not sound like much, but I live in Florida and now I can go outside again during the day for more than ten minutes without passing out. The best thing is that two months out I am still improving.”
Jen Allen, Gerald’s wife said “I really don’t care if it was the stem cells or the surgery or whatever, all I know is that picking Gerald up and moving him in and out of cars, out of sofas into his chair everyday takes a toll on my knees – I have had three operations – his 20% increase in general mobility after our trip to China makes my life twice as easy.”
Razvan Iordache said “Being able to control my bladder for ten minutes rather than a few seconds is a general boost in the quality of my life but I am most happy about being able to move my fingers. I still have a long way to go but I am still improving and I have made more progress in three months than I have the last nine years.”
Dr. Sean Hu, chairman of Beike, said, “We are very happy for both of the patients and hope that they continue to make progress. We have put these cases out to the public not to make a direct comparison procedure vs. effect especially since the decompression in Gerald’s surgery should give more added benefit than the process of the injections into the spinal cord fluid given to Razvan, but just to bring up awareness that there are different procedures available for treatment and to record two cases of umbilical cord stem cell treatment. We will continue to publish these patients’ progress through China Stem Cell News and other media outlets.
“While the documentation for stem cell treatments for Neurological diseases leaves a lot to be desired, I applaud the Beike group and NanShan Hospital for making the first steps of giving the world more transparent access to these cases and others.”, said Jon Hakim, an American healthcare professional working in China.