Stem cell treatment regrows Whitfield man’s foot

By the time Dr. Spencer Misner had carved away the dead and diseased flesh from Bobby Rices right foot last year, little remained other than bones and tendons.

I couldnt believe it. It didnt look real. It looked like something out of a movie, recalled Rice, a Whitfield County resident.

Today, the ankle has almost completely healed. It looks like Rice had simply scraped it. And Rices foot has largely healed, too. Misner credits cutting-edge stem cell treatments for saving Rices foot and leg.

Rice, who has diabetes, stepped on a piece of glass last fall and his foot quickly became infected. After trying a home remedy, Rice eventually went to Daltons Hamilton Medical Center emergency room, where doctors found he had a rapidly spreading necrotizing fasciitis, or in laymans terms, flesh-eating bacteria.

Physicians treated the infection with antibiotics. However, Rice had one toe amputated. Doctors had to strip away much of the flesh from Rices foot and a great deal of flesh along his ankle.

We did what we had to do, Misner said. We got the infection out. We saved his life. But what do you do next? Wed normally say all you can do now is cut of his leg so he can get on with his life.

But Misner had another idea. He contacted Ed Fickey, a sales representative for Osiris Therapeutics and asked about using the companys new stem cell technologies to rebuild the foot and ankle.

Stem cells can grow and differentiate into many different types of cells. Stem cell treatments introduce these cells into damaged or diseased organs to repair them.

The problem is that Bobby is an indigent patient and didnt have the financial resources. Ed spoke to the company, and they agreed to donate the products for free, Misner said.

Osiris provided two products called Grafix and Ovation. Fickey said they are made from adult stem cells derived from donated placenta and do not come from embryos.

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Stem cell treatment regrows Whitfield man’s foot

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