When the Unthinkable Strikes “Home”
As many of you are aware, we at Grace Century have spent the last 4 years promoting what we think is the future of medicine; Bio-banking in stem cells. How exciting, right? Regenerative medicine, the potential therapies or even cures for many of human diseases like Diabetes, spinal-cord injuries, Parkinson’s Disease……the list goes on.
In supporting this field of medicine, we helped a new company, Provia laboratories and their branded Store-A-Tooth™ dental stem cell storage product, expand globally. By doing so have helped educate the consumer public as well as the healthcare providers on the prospect of future therapies that can help save lives in the regenerative medicine field. Nothing can be better than the feeling we get, in doing our jobs and possibly having played some small part in the betterment of health for someone in the future. No, it’s not easy presenting the unknown future to people when the skies are clear, birds are chirping, and the sun is out. This is especially true when therapies are still in the research stage. In addition, not everyone is touched personally by tragedy or issues in the family, so it could be at arms length.
But what happens when that changes? What happens when someone close and important to you is struck by an unforeseen illness or accident?
One of Provia’s original advisors got that news in 2014. The diagnosis was Leukemia.
As a well-respected dentist, Dr “N” understood the science behind the potentially valuable stem cells that lay in the dental pulp of children’s baby teeth and wisdom teeth. Stem cells and it’s potential therapies represents a new frontier, especially for the dental community, who have sometimes been considered the “red-headed step children” of medicine. That was until regenerative medicine catapulted the sector into the limelight. Between new therapies, the understanding of the effect of oral health as it relates to the whole body, and the dental involvement in new sectors like the sleep and its effect on our health, the profile of dentists has undergone a resurgence in the media. Sleep disorders and their related fields have forced some U.S. States to refuse non-emergency surgery without a conducted sleep study, as patients have been dying on the table under anesthesia. Dentists are now the new “rock stars” of the health profession.
So Dr. N suddenly has Leukemia…and his life changed on a dime. As it was explained directly to me by the doctor in question; “Trying to get everything in order prior to treatment as quick as possible was quite a daunting task. After going into remission, the next big hurdle was getting a match for a bone marrow transplant. It is important to get as close a match as possible for a greater chance of success”.
Dr. N elaborates – “My Doctors went to one of the largest global registries to find a suitable donor. On that registry there are approximately 60 million potential donors. When the registry was looked at, there was only one perfect match. Think about that…one in 60 million! That person was contacted and of course I was just extremely happy to hear that the hospital was able to find a compatible donor. However, on a follow up appointment I received the devastating news that the donor was not medically cleared and thus could not be a donor”.
So what do you do when there is no donor?
Dr. N continues; “So then they went back to the registry and found an imperfect match that should be compatible. This was it, out of 60 million this was the last possible donor. If this option did not exist, the other options were my sibling or cord blood. My sibling was only a half match so not the best option. The only remaining option would be to go to a public cord blood bank. Cord blood works, but comes with different risks and treatment protocols. Needless to say, my personal experience reconfirmed my own belief that when one can store their own stem cells it should be strongly considered as it is invaluable in so many ways. For the peace of mind and knowing that you did not need to depend on other avenues.”
Dr. N is making recovery but it is slow going. He finishes by commenting “I would like to point out that there are many types of stem cells. The one I needed is called hematopoietic which come from a bone marrow donor as it did in my case. They also come from cord blood. These stem cells are used for blood cancers. The stem cells that come from teeth are called mesenchymal. These cells are for tissue repair like heart tissue, bone, cartilage and nerve repair. Plenty of research is being done for cures such as diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis through the use of these cells.
THE bottom line, from personal experience, I feel whenever one has the option to store ANY type of their own stem cells, DO IT!