The Latest News: January 2017

Happy New Year 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.

A Special Thank You to our friends at Rabobank!

Dennis Pedesich, Vice President and Branch manager at Rabobank personally delivered a generous $1,000 donation to the Director of Research, Dr. Marko Bodor. We genuinely appreciate working with Rabobank, and all they do to support our community.

Looking Forward: What to Expect in 2017

The Napa Medical Research Foundation is working to broaden the scope and capacity of Dr. Bodor’s research in the coming year. Based on the strong results to-date, we are confident these improvements will help yield new discoveries and further our mission.


  • Investigate the use of Mesenchymal Stem Cells as an alternative to cement injections for osteoporotic compression fractures
  • Develop a patentable platelet-rich lysate growth factor solution
  • Increase lab and office space by 300 square feet
  • Learn bone marrow stem cell techniques
  • Acquire a dedicated research ultrasound machine
  • Enlist the part-time assistance of a Lab Technician
  • Initiate a pilot trial for a study of Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease based on a new treatment developed through the Sever’s Study
  • Prove the effectiveness of a hybrid ultrasound-fluoroscopy guided technique for platelet-rich plasma injections
  • Explore the development of an ultra-minimally invasive technique for ulnar nerve decompression

With your support, we are making meaningful contributions to the advancement of regenerative medicine by sharing our developments for less invasive, more effective treatments and procedures with the broad medical community.

Originally invented in 1850, the Inversion Fluorescence Microscope is a combination of a conventional optical microscope and a reflected fluorescence illuminator. More recent improvements in fluorescent observation techniques have expanded its use to the fields of cellular and molecular biology. A highly sensitive machine, it is capable of detecting and visualizing substances and structures, their movement and location, and changes in the brightness and color.

The State of the Art in Microscopy

The Inversion Fluorescent Microscope allows Dr. Bodor and his researchers to observe and study specific characteristics of tissue, muscle and nerve samples at the cellular level. Enlisting the assistance of Ryan Dregalla, Head Consultant at Dregalla Medical Technologies, an AMG EVOS FL was acquired in December, giving them a prominent edge over many other research facilities.

Owing to the fact an Inversion Fluorescent Microscope captures high quality images at the cellular level with exceptional accuracy and academic lab grade clarity, this acquisition removes the need to consult an expert in Microscopy while still yielding publishable results. By using light to contrast the image of the constituent, the microscope can be programmed to read a variety of dyes and pre-determined cell markers. The resulting images provide highly specific information about each cell in the sample. When applied to stem cell research, the image can verify whether or not a given cell is alive or dead – information that is critical to the effectiveness of that cell in an injection treatment.

Individual cells can also be identified and counted, allowing the researchers to quantify the number of stem cells harvested through various techniques to determine the most effective method. In similar fashion, a specific concentration of platelets can be targeted yielding the most beneficial delivery of healing and growth factors.

As the research team builds on their observations, they are also building a vital database of information that will support current research projects and lead to new and exciting discoveries. The concept of establishing a protocol for ensuring maximum efficacy in stem cell harvesting is already under investigation. Now they can explore the parameters in-house, with increased flexibility and more immediate results.

The Inversion Fluorescent Microscope was specifically purchased with growth and adaptation in mind. Dr. Dregalla shares, “It has the capacity to grow with the development of innovative new approaches and increased research scope. The machine will not need to be upgraded. Instead, they can identify specific research needs and outfit the machine accordingly.” The Napa Medical Research Foundation is proud to provide this state of the art equipment to Dr. Bodor and his researchers so they may continue their necessary work in advancing regenerative medicine.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells:  Less Controversial, More Manageable, and Highly Functional

Dr. Bodor and his research team are currently doing remarkable work with mesenchymal stem cells. Sharing the same properties as an embryonic stem cell –  being able to divide and renew themselves and having the ability to function as a specialized blood or nerve cell – these cells are considered to be less controversial and highly functional in the lab.

For many years now, the discussion around the use of embryonic stem cells has been heated, both politically and scientifically. Highly restrictive laws regulate the use of embryonic stem cells for research, and the funding required for those studies. With the rise of stem cell centers (as presented in the November 2016 Newsletter), and the unregulated, often unethical and illegal use of embryonic stem cells, some of the more dedicated scientific community has turned to other unspecialized cells, like mesenchymal stem cells, to perform similar functions in the lab, and in clinical studies.

Harvested from bone marrow or adipose tissue, mesenchymal stem cells are isolated and matured into the desired cell function type. Being “unspecialized”, they are able to give rise to one or more different types of cells and, herein, lies the key to their use and effectiveness in regenerative medicine. These “programmed” cells are injected back into the body, specifically to the area of injury or disease, with the goal of increasing the number of productive, healthy cells in the area. Depending on the need, the cells can introduce or improve blood supplies, increase the presence of healing and growth factors in tissue, and work to increase the formation of healthy bone.

The study currently being developed around the use of mesenchymal stem cells investigates their ability to replace the current standard treatment for vertebral compression fractures vertebroplasty. The procedure uses injections of medical-grade cement into the fracture to provide stability to the spinal structure.   The fractures are wedge-shaped and occur in the front of the vertebrae, collapsing the bone in front, but leaving the back of the spine in place, and are accompanied by acute and eventually chronic pain. Severe cases results in deformity of the spine and greatly decreased mobility. While the cement injections serve to stop the compression and provide stability to the spine, they have little ability to reduce pain long-term, increase mobility or improve function.

With his renowned application of ultrasound injection delivery, Dr. Bodor delivers the mesenchymal stem cells re-purposed to act as blood or nerve cells, with their powerful healing and growth factors directly to the fracture point. The goal is to not only provide significant and lasting pain relief, but also to rebuild the affected area in the spine so the patient can resume a more normal, active lifestyle. As the study progresses, we look forward to sharing preliminary results with you, and the often enlightening things the team learns along the way.

With Our Sincere Thanks!

2016 has certainly been an exciting year for the Foundation. We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the generous support of donors from across the community and our Board of Directors. Our deepest appreciation for their belief in the future of regenerative medicine, in the vital necessity of the important work Dr. Bodor and his researchers are performing here in Napa, and in the Foundation’s vision.

2016 Donors

Bob & Debb Almeida

Bart & Daphne Araujo

Geni Bennetts, MD

Gretchen De Baubigny

Joanne De Puy

E. Fletcher Eyster, MD

Fairwind Foundation

Harry K. Genant, MD

Timothy & Mary Beth Herman

Conrad Hewitt

Jackson Family Foundation

Elizabeth Moffitt, MD

Ken & Deborah Novack

Christopher & Betsy Peacock

Ron & Betty Profili


  Joann Ross

   Gail & Paul Silvestri

Meagan Ryan Stasz

Farrok & Maya Yazdi

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The Latest News, November 2018

WELCOME GRETCHEN DE BAUBIGNY The NMRF Board of Directors and Staff welcome Gretchen De Baubigny, a resident of St. Helena and San Francisco broadly respected for her creativity, warmth, and lifelong belief in the power of philanthropy. She is an advocate for issues...


 Reduce Pain. Increase Mobility & Function. Improve Quality of Life.

All the research conducted through the Napa Medical Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is fully funded through generous donations received from individuals and family foundations.

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