VesCell / TheraVitae: Interesting To Note

It is interesting to note that TheraVitae is now pushing their VesCell brand of adult stem cell therapy for heart disease - with the procedures performed in Thailand - quite aggressively in the US. They've recruited Amit Patel, a researcher in the field involved in US trials of stem cell heart therapies, and are conducting a slick advertising campaign. This seems to me to be a step forward; private capital is now confident enough in stem cell medicine to be funding and marketing medical tourism to Asia in the US. From their website:

VesCell(tm) is "autologous" adult stem cell therapy. That means we use stem cells taken from your own blood . These stem cells are named "ACPs" (Angiogenic Cell Precursors). ACPs are cells that induce the growth of blood vessels. These cells may also turn into additional types of cells that can benefit heart patients. Similar cells, but probably less effective than ACPs, have successfully been used in dozens of clinical trials all over the world.

Cardiologists and cardiac surgeons are currently using VesCell(tm) to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from ischemic heart disease (or coronary artery disease) cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure by relieving debilitating symptoms such as severe angina pectoris (severe chest pain) and increasing exercise tolerance.

Overseas visits for stem cell therapies - that will not be approved in the US in the forseeable future - have been taking place for some time now, but I don't recall the groups involved making waves to this extent in the past. Which is a pity, as the deployment of working therapies outside the US is one of the few remaining things that can temporarily speed up the regulatory morass inside the US.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out; medical tourism will grow rapidly if the most impressive new therapies are increasingly deployed outside the US. If companies like TheraVitae turn a profit providing this service, then there will certainly be more providers next year and the year after - it might be the first step in a chain of events that finally succeeds in reining in the FDA and the risk-averse regulatory culture that is blocking and slowing progress in the US. We can hope.

As to whether VesCell is a viable stem cell therapy, we shall see - but trials of comparable therapies and stem cell technologies have been successful and increasingly promising for years now. Given the choice between trying stem cell therapies oversees or the comparatively crude medical technologies generally available in the US, I know where I'd be heading if I had heart disease.

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As the U.S. representative for Bangkok International Hospital (the site of much of the clinical stem cell thereapy in Thailand) we are very excited about the value of this therapy. You are correct that stem cell therapy will not be available in the U.S. for quite some time. The fact that the U.S. is not the only leader in health care is apparent and overseas visits for health care will continue to increase you are correct. It is no longer casual "medical tourism" as people are seeking serious treatments for disease. I hope that my company will be just one of the many that helps to elevate the treatment of overseas patients to a serious business. There are a great many hospitals world wide offering excellent options and it is still difficult for consumers to sort throught the hype. This to is something that we hope to change as we provide a portal for information on the best providers internationally. Watch the web for our site launch next month.

James O. Perry
International Medical Resources, L.L.C.

Posted by: James Perry at January 11th, 2006 1:58 AM

i have PAD in both legs. i have had triple bypass and carotid artery surgery. doctor recomended puting a cow vain in my legs. i can still walk about 2 tenths of a mile before resting. i don't want cow vain if i can help it.

Posted by: allen ross at January 26th, 2007 1:12 PM

It would be nice if you could make this availiable here in the USA,but between cardiologists,pharmacueticle companies and hospitals I know we can't have it done here. send this article you posted to senators and the white house try to make them understand that its about peoples lives they should be concerned.

Posted by: Ignacio Garza at July 20th, 2009 11:21 AM

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