Greetings from the Research Lab!
We would like to share the latest news from the field, recent findings from our clinical studies, and stories about the people of Napa Medical Research Foundation.
November 2016 Newsletter
WELCOME TIM HERMAN
We are delighted to announce long-time Napa resident Tim Herman has joined the NMRF Board of Directors. Tim brings many years of experience with non-profit organizations to the Foundation, along with a deep commitment to the power of philanthropy.
Our local community recognizes Tim for his significant contributions to the Queen of the Valley Medical Center both as a dedicated Board member for many years and through the establishment of the Peggy Herman Neuroscience Center and the Herman Family Pavilion. He is the founder of the International Children’s Dream Foundation, committed to providing vital resources to young people trying to manage life’s challenges, such as violence and substance abuse.
Tim has served on multiple local school boards and is very engaged with promoting health and well being across the county. His wealth of knowledge and immense generosity of spirit will greatly benefit the Foundation and we are delighted to have his experience and wise counsel to strengthen our Board.
LATEST INNOVATIONS FOR TREATING DISC DEGENERATION
Chronic back pain is considered the number one cause of musculoskeletal disability worldwide. As the fifth most common reason for a physician visit, it affects five out of ten working adults and is responsible for causing 40% of missed days off work. Unfortunately, most individuals will experience acute back pain at some point in their lives.
The most common cause of back pain among younger and middle aged adults is related to tears of the collagen fibers in the disc. These tears by themselves can cause pain, or if a significant number of fibers tear, the disc can bulge and herniate. Bulges and herniation can be a source of irritation or can compress spinal nerves causing “sciatica”. Over time, if the disc does not repair its’ self, it deteriorates and leads to spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spaces around the spinal nerves and causing pain in the arms or legs.
Up until recently, for patients with injured discs and chronic pain, the only options were to wait and hope the disc heals itself and if not, then treat the symptoms. Recently in sports medicine it was discovered that platelets obtained from the blood and other cells in the bone marrow can be used to repair chronically torn non-healing ligaments and tendons. Dr. Bodor was among the first to utilize these in the Bay Area and, given that he is also an expert on treating the spine, was among the first to use this technique for disc pain. Dr. Bodor described the rationale for the technique and pilot series of patients in a chapter in the textbook, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), editor Lana, publisher Springer, 2014 (available on Amazon.com). Dr. Greg Lutz, at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, published positive results for PRP for disc pain in a randomized blinded placebo-controlled trial in the journal PMR in January 2016.
Owing to the relatively low available blood supply in the disc, the introduction of concentrated platelets can seal tears and contribute vital growth and healing factors to facilitate natural repair processes. Dr. Bodor has administered PRP therapy to discs experiencing some degree of degeneration in the lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine. With the support of the Napa Medical Research Foundation, he and Research Assistant Yvette Uribe are carefully monitoring the progress of more than 170 patients to prove the effectiveness of the PRP as a healing agent. The findings thus far yield a minimum 75% improvement rate.
Of special interest is the new technique Dr. Bodor developed during the course of the study. Whenever needles are placed into the neck, a high degree of skill and vigilance is necessary to ensure safety and comfort in doing the procedure. Traditionally such injection procedures are done using x-rays only, but Dr. Bodor developed a technique combining ultrasound and x-rays which allows for better visualization of the carotid arteries, brachial plexus and other vulnerable structures and ensure precise placement into the discs or the cervical facet joints.
Dr. Bodor and his research team were asked recently to write a review article on the evidence for PRP and stem cells in treating chronic painful muscle and ligament injuries. Their work is currently going into publication in Techniques in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal published by Elsevier.
As a strong advocate for the work of Dr. Bodor and as a contributor to the Napa Medical Research Foundation, could you please tell us how you got to know Dr. Bodor and your personal experience in receiving these leading edge treatments?
To begin, it is important to recognize that Dr Bodor is an extraordinary, superior and bright individual in addition to being a highly skilled and talented physician. He has remarkable breadth of knowledge well beyond the medical arena. This enhances his ability to examine problems with fresh and unique insight and creates a very engaging experience for the patient.
My own experience with Dr. Bodor comprises two separate medical conditions on two different parts of my body: the treatment I received for both – Platelet Rich Plasma – proved highly effective.
Nearly 20 years ago, I tore my gluteus medius tendon off the end of my femur which required a highly specialized and uncommon surgery at the time. While the team at Mayo Clinic reattached the tendon, it never fully healed. I was left with a misaligned foot that left me without the ability to run and a pronounced limp when walking. Sixteen years later I was referred to Dr. Bodor to see if I could possibly benefit from the use of platelets where the tendon had pulled away from the bone. Following the ultrasound-guided PRP injections, the limp has significantly healed and my walking has improved immensely!
Recognizing the powerful impact of the platelets, I engaged Dr. Bodor in a discussion about the severe arthritis in my right hand. After accompanying me personally to the hand specialized surgeon in San Francisco, and lending his exceptional technical ability to observe tendons, nerve and bone, the partially-successful surgery still resulted in an an incredible amount of chronic pain. With several platelet injections, Dr. Bodor has been able to greatly reduce that pain, and improve my functionality.
~ Christopher Peacock
We would like to thank Chris Peacock for sharing his story with us. His generous support for the Napa Medical Research Foundation and his advocacy for Dr. Bodor’s work is greatly appreciated!
STEM CELL TREATMENTS: Who Can be Trusted?
In June of this year, The Sacramento Bee published an article, “Growing industry or unregulated risk?,” investigating the operations of stem cell centers offering low-risk alternative treatments whose procedures have not been fully tested and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The authors found 570 clinics operating in the US who are providing some form of stem cell treatment.
One company in particular, Nervana, captured the attention of Dr. Bodor with their claim of being able to cure neuropathy with the injection of third party umbilical cord stem cells. As you will soon read in the Napa Valley Register in a Letter to the Editor authored by Dr. Bodor, there are clearly some unethical and illegal practices in effect here.
For the researchers around the country making vital new discoveries and insights into the harvesting and application of stem cells in legal and fully FDA-sanctioned labs, these clinics are the “snake oil charmers” of the 1800s and have the potential to seriously damage the invaluable work being done in this field.
The Napa Medical Research Foundation is here to support the legal, valid work of Dr. Bodor, and his colleagues at Mayo Clinic, Stanford and UCSF, in their efforts to make truly ground-breaking advances in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases and conditions.
We believe it is essential that the public be informed: For example, using umbilical cord stem cells obtained from a third party is illegal. While not yet regulated, procedures that utilize the patient’s own stem cells for reintroduction into their body are acceptable, though currently under consideration for regulatory oversight
It is important that stem cell-related treatments find precedent in medical literature, be used in conjunction with an Independent Review Board (IRB) approved clinical study, and be performed in a legal, FDA approved lab.
The field of regenerative medicine holds a great deal of promise from treating the orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions to breakthroughs in diabetes treatment, improving heart failure outcomes and treating traumatic brain injuries. It is imperative we maintain the necessary level of ethical and legal behavior in our clinical studies, in the development of new treatments, and in the promises made to patients suffering and in pain worldwide.