Stem cell treatments offer freedom from prosthetics, may someday cure chronic disease
Therapies based on adult stem cells are offering patients today the ability to re-grow broken bones, avoiding prosthetic implants. In coming years, stem-cell-based treatments have the potential to revolutionise the treatment of chronic diseases such as Type-2 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
In addition to ilaya’s procedure for treating Asherman’s syndrome, our researchers are developing new methods of re-growing bones. ilaya’s treatments are based on adult stem cells – material taken from the patient’s own body, which we then cultivate in our laboratory; we don’t use stem cell lines derived from embryos, a technique that raises ethical concerns for some patients.
“ilaya’s proprietary treatments based on adult stem cells can help regenerate bones over gaps as wide as 15 centimeters.” – Vladimir Oksimets: Orthopaedist-traumatologist, ilaya clinic
Our success stories
ilaya’s doctors are able to re-grow bone over gaps as wide as 15 cm (6 inches). The two ends of the fractured bone are connected by a “scaffolding”, along which the stem cells are placed; they then grow new bone to bridge the gap. While these treatments are not suitable for all cases, they have produced some dramatic results, particularly among soldiers and volunteers who were wounded while fighting Russian-backed rebels in southeast Ukraine.
One such patient is Oleg Tomachev, who was wounded in the leg. He’s one of 36 people helped by ilaya in 2015, all of whom were scheduled for amputations before arriving at our clinic. Another such patient, Aleksandr Pidkopanyy, underwent 17 operations before coming to ilaya; our specialists were able to restore his heel bone, as well as surrounding ligaments and cartilage. Both of them are working out again; they appeared with ilaya at a half-marathon in Kyiv this year and are hoping to do the entire distance in 2017.
Our most dramatic case so far is that of Viktor Lehkodukh, a soldier in Ukraine’s 25th Airborne Division. Viktor is 24, and spent two years in a wheelchair after his vertebral column was damaged by shrapnel in 2014. Viktor began treatment with ilaya in February 2016; as of July, feeling in his legs has been restored, and he is able to take a few steps at a time. He’s now undergoing physical therapy and is scheduled for further stem-cell treatment.
Funding for the soldiers’ treatments is provided by People’s Project, a crowdfunding site that also supplies equipment to the Ukrainian army and volunteer battalions. U.S. scientists are conducting similar work that aims to re-grow cartilage inside joints, making joint-replacement surgery unnecessary.
Future Stem cell treatments with ilaya
In addition to our work on bone regeneration, we are also conducting a clinical trial, which we expect to conclude in autumn 2016, of a treatment for Type-2 diabetes that uses stem cells to regenerate insulin-generating tissue in the pancreas. Further down the road – a question of several years, at least – regenerative therapies based on adult stem cells have the potential to help treat neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Again, we stress that our Asherman’s and bone regeneration treatments may not be suitable for all patients. If you are affected by a fracture, osteonecrosis or other bone damage and want to find out more about whether you may qualify, please contact us.