What do Peyton Manning, Joost van der Westhuizen, and Natasha Merangoli have in common? Well, they are all athletes (Manning is a future football Hall of Famer, Westhuizen is a South African rugby star, and Merangoli is a high school soccer athlete) but, more importantly, they all underwent some kind of stem cell treatment for certain conditions.
We will not delve on Manning’s and Westhuizen’s treatment because we already blogged about them in the past (see: Joost van der Westhuizen: Stem Cell Treatment for ALS Disease and Peyton Manning Stem Cell Therapy).
As for Merangoli, here’s a Fox Orlando report on how stem cell therapy, using cells harvested from the patient herself, apparently succeeded in treating her avascular necrosis which she sustained when she hurt an ankle.
Avascular necrosis is a condition where blood supply to the bone is interrupted thus leading to the cellular death (necrosis) of bone components.
Here’s the report on this high school student’s condition and how Dr. Dennis Lox, a sports and regenerative medicine expert, saved her ankle using stem cells. Watch:
For those of you who can’t watch the video for whatever reason, here are the quotes from Dr. Lox:
The problem with avascular necrosis is, when the bone dies, it can collapse, and then you get a very rapid secondary degeneration. The most common cause is from trauma, but often times, athletes experience aches and pains all the time, so they just think it’s going to get better. And it just doesn’t.
Stem cells hone. They hone to areas of injury. Stem cells are basically cells in the body that can become other types of cells. It was very rewarding to see that you gave somebody an alternate destiny, and it was the destiny that she wanted which was to continue to play soccer.
Does this stem cell treatment procedure actually work for other people with avascular necrosis or is Merangoli just a lucky kid?
We must admit that we were skeptical at first but, in the next video below, Dr. Courtney Sherman of the Mayo Clinic tells us that based on data from Europe where this procedure has been done for a longer time, about 80 to 90% of patients with stages one and two of avascular necrosis have been saved.
How expensive is this kind of treatment? According to the Fox Orlando report, “simple stem cell regenerative surgeries typically cost around $5,000 and they are not covered by insurance”.