Monday, August 10, 2009
Post #4 - Why the XCell Center?
Like many other Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) sufferers, the prognosis of no treatment or cure for MSA was difficult for me to accept. How was it possible for the advanced medical system in this country to have so few answers for this terrible disease? The assurance from my doctors that they will actively treat my symptoms yet-to-come was not very reassuring. Surely something is available to combat the steady progression of MSA to its predicted conclusion.
With that objective in mind, my attention was drawn to a recent entry on the Yahoo MSA Support Group site firstname.lastname@example.org . The entry was posted by group member Sheila who took her 67-year-old mother to Germany for stem cell treatment and felt the procedure offered positive results (Sheila’s original entry and subsequent follow-ups can be viewed in the archives of the MSA Support Group). Sheila deserves many thanks for sharing her and her mom’s XCell experience with other group members.
While I was aware of the general concept of stem cell therapy, this was the first time I learned clinics existed which offered treatment specifically for MSA patients. As a skeptical former police officer, I wondered if these clinics were run by medical scam artists preying on vulnerable people desperate for a meaningful treatment.
I carefully scrutinized every page of XCell’s website www.xcellcenter.com and was impressed with the straight-forward nature of its content. Unlike a few other stem cell clinic sites, there were no claims that “miracle” cures were practically guaranteed. In fact, XCell made it clear that while hopeful of a positive outcome, due to the complex nature of stem cell therapy, “there is no guarantee for success.” The only thing the website’s many informative pages didn’t mention was specific treatment for MSA. Subsequently I learned that relatively few MSA patients have undergone the procedure at XCell– so a meaningful number of case histories (and the results) have not been compiled. Their experience with Parkinson patients is much greater, with two-thirds showing either “some” or “significant” improvement.
Before deciding which, if any, facility I would select, I investigated other clinics in China, Mexico, Panama, Ukraine, and the Dominican Republic. For those of you who are wondering why there are no clinics listed from the United States – the FDA considers these type of procedures (even using your own stem cells) to be a process requiring their study and approval – an approval apparently still years away.
After weighing all the different stem cell implantation procedures, techniques, clinic locations, costs etc., I decided on the XCell Center for four primary reasons: the German reputation for quality and precision, the ease of travel to Europe, the relatively manageable cost of the procedure, and perhaps most importantly, the use of my own stem cells rather than neural, umbilical or other sources not my own.
Finally, if I had this decision process to do over again, I’d seek the input of my GP first rather than last. In fact we didn’t discuss it until I needed him to write an order for preliminary XCell blood work. I trust him completely with Fran and my health care – why hesitate to ask him about stem cell therapy? Looking back, I think subconsciously I didn’t want to hear him say the treatment was worthless and to save my money (and dampen my hopes). As it turns out he’s fully supportive, medically curious, and optimistically awaiting the results.
So – it’s off to Cologne, Germany on September 13th with high hopes and anticipation. I’m also looking forward to trying Sheila’s secret weapon – the local Kolsch beer. Reputedly it has healing powers.
In a few days my next entry (#5) will be a “nuts and bolts” description of the XCell application and registration process, procedure costs, travel plans, and all the many details involved in an endeavor like this.