There are many misconceptions surrounding stem cell research and procedures in the United States. Where the endeavor is widely approved of in European countries, the United States continues to remain wary, based in the assumption that embryonic stem cells required for the method of therapy come from aborted fetuses. This assumption is actually completely incorrect, as the cells come are extracted from fatty tissue in the stomach.
According to an article recently completed by the Chicago Tribune, Julia Szabo, author of the book Medicine Dog: The Miraculous Cure that Healed My Best Friend and Saved My Life, this misconception is causing a lot of people to miss out on the opportunity to heal some of their more challenging afflictions. In her case, stem cell therapy healed not only her own struggles with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but her dog’s issues with arthritic joints. In the novel, she details the procedure her dog Sam underwent as a means of definitively declaring that the stem cells do not come from aborted fetuses. Under anesthesia, Sam underwent liposuction—essentially a basic “tummy tuck,” in which the fatty tissue of the stomach was extracted. The tissue was then sent to Vet-Stem, a company that provides regenerative stem cell therapy for animals, which Szabo found through a simple search of the Internet. Vet-Stem then processed the tissue in centrifuge, separating the stem cells from the fat. The cells are placed in vials and delivered to the veterinarian on dry ice. From there, the cells are introduced to the animal’s system through two methods—direct injection into pet’s arthritic joints and intravenously into the bloodstream.
After the procedure, Szabo saw notable improvement in the dog’s ability to travel within hours. Within weeks the dog was completely healed. Szabo decided to pursue the procedure herself after a particularly bad event involving her Irritable Bowel Syndrome landed her in the emergency room. A Vet-Stem authority she had worked with on her dog’s cased suggested the therapy for her ailment as well, referring her to the California Stem Cell Treatment Center in the process. Now Szabo is able to live an entirely normal life, free of her IBS.
The therapy comes at a hefty price, however. The pet’s procedure cost Szabo over two thousand five hundred dollars; her own stem cell therapy cost around nine thousand dollars. The rates are high, as insurances do not cover the procedure—it is FDA compliant, but not FDA approved.