FCT Controversy: MY STEM CELL THERAPY STORY

By: Jesus G. Dureza Posted: July 1, 2013 8:28 am

Over the last few days, Fresh Stem Cell Therapy (FCT) got into the headlines due to some controversy involving alleged deaths and complaints mentioning prominent names blaming stem cell treatment for their alleged negative effects.Naturally, just like any controversy, the stories unduly put under cloud this innovative and pioneering science of regenerative medicine that is reputed to treat illnesses, bring well being and rejuvenation.

MY FRIENDS The current news reports caught public attention and went viral. Many friends who were following Beths FCT experience and who were planning to also undergo FCT were calling. They were bothered by the reports. I was myself personally disturbed because all of them who were mentioned as having experienced negative results, I knew in person. Congressman ERICO AUMENTADO of Bohol and Camiguin Congressman LOLOY ROMUALDO both were my close friends and whom I worked with when I was with the government. And the controversy all the more struck me because I and my wife Beth saw and experienced for ourselves the positive NOT NEGATIVE results of FCT seven months after treatment at VILLA MEDICA in Germany.

Let me trace back. I knew Congressman Erico well even when he was still Bohol Governor. His successful efforts in clearing his province of armed insurgency gained national attention. When I was Malacanang Presidential Peace Adviser, I used the Bohol experience as example of a success story. So, when initial reports surfaced about FCT having caused his death, I sat up and took special attention. Later, his son came out publicly DENYING the story saying his father died of pneumonia and NOT due to FCT. He said his fathers lungs were already in serious condition but after getting a first infusion of FCT, his condition suddenly and dramatically improved and he was hitting the election campaign trail like superman. In fact they were preparing to again return to Germany for another infusion encouraged by its initial favorable results when death intervened and overtook events.

The other prominent name mentioned with FCT was former Congressman Loloy. We were together as colleagues in Congress. The Romualdo family had dominated politically the Camiguin island province for a long time up to the present. The circumstances of his undergoing stem cell treatment , however, are not yet clear. My cursory check results showed that he did NOT get FCT from Villa Medica in Germany. This will have to be further validated though.

The other prominent name was former Customs official (and now with Dangerous Drugs Board) ANTONIO BEBOT VILLAR. We were together in the Arroyo administration. He said he and his wife had FCT in a 5-star hotel in Metro Manila, by German and Thai doctors but NOT in Germany. His condition allegedly worsened after the treatment. MY OWN STORY I will not venture to further deal on those incidents simply because they are now subject of further close look by the authorities. And I am not privy with the true facts surrounding their cases. But I will deal on some information that are of my own personal knowledge and the personal experience I and my wife BETH can competently attest to.

As I have written previously, I and my wife Beth traveled all the way to EDENKOBEN, GERMANY last November, 2012 some seven (7) months ago for FCT in the VILLA MEDICA (VM) clinic facilities as an alternative remedy to her deteriorating kidney condition. We were NOT assured that there would be positive results by VM representatives but we took the chance after I made extensive research and consultations with doctors and experts. We even traveled to Bangkok, Thailand to make further inquiries. We were encouraged by reports of well-being and regenerative effects on vital organs. And we took efforts to talk to those who themselves underwent the procedure. We gathered that VILLA MEDICA and its FCT, using fresh stem cell from the fetus of clinically controlled and raised sheep had been recognized, authorized, licensed and closely monitored by stringent standards imposed by GERMAN HEALTH AUTHORITIES of the German government. VILLA MEDICA, founded in 1963 had also a long track record of about 50 YEARS. Fresh cell therapy was pioneered by Dr PAUL NIEHANS in 1931. Another doctor in 1980, GUNTER BIOBEL scientifically dissected the technology and was awarded in 1999 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

After some soul-searching and weighing our options, we decided and took the trouble of traveling to Germany at some cost even when we were told that there were stem cell treatments also being done in the Philippines, at more considerable costs, although still in their infancy stage. We had no way of verifying the reliability of local Philippine FCT providers due to their fairly recent track record. When I checked with St. Lukes Hospital Regenerative division at Global City, the division chief told me they were into this procedure: harvesting human stem cells from the patients themselves, usually from the bone marrow, churn them for 2 weeks in the laboratory using German-made machines and injecting them back to the patient over a 12 month period. However she declined to cite or give an example of a success story simply because they had been into the procedure fairly recently. Also, we were informed that to achieve optimum results, fresh stem cells must be injected (in the buttocks) within two hours from its harvesting from the donor fetus. So getting the FCT infusion right there in the clinic in Germany was far better than having the injectables flown from Germany or elsewhere and get the infusion in Manila, travel time obviously reducing the stem cells efficacy or potency. More importantly, seven months ago, there were NO clear Philippine regulations yet governing FCT, due to its infancy, to give us some level of reasonable comfort and assurance. On the other hand, the procedure in Germany we were told adhered to strictest German standards imposed by the German government. These regulations even cover the growing and maintenance of donor sheep and the harvesting of stem cells from 18-week old fetus under clinical control and conditions. And specific success stories were many.

And more importantly, we were in a desperate mode due to the continuous decline of Beths kidney conditions. As preparatory steps, Beth went through a series of tests which were screened and studied by her doctors in Manila and even through German doctors in Villa Medica in Edenkoben who had to make the final decision whether she was qualified to get the treatment. Even her Nephrologist who happens to be also a family friend and a known kidney transplant surgeon at the National Kidney Institute recommended that we try FCT. That sealed our decision.

So, off we went to Germany last November, 2012. Of course at great expense. (Treatment costs EURO 15,000 or about 830,000 PHP ) But nonetheless. AFTER 7 MONTHS Today, seven months after the treatment, and in contrast to the sketchy stories surrounding the cases of my friends ERICO, LOLOY and BEBOT as reported in the media, our own testimonials of the FCT at VILLA MEDICA are a bit different from those horror stories. I also personally met and discussed with others who themselves went to the German facility for FCT and our testimonials coincided.

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FCT Controversy: MY STEM CELL THERAPY STORY

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