Retired golfer Jack Nicklaus has spoken for the first time about how experimental stem cell therapy has allowed him to play golf again after years of debilitating back pain.
Retired golfer Jack Nicklaus has spoken for the first time about how stem cell therapy has allowed him to play golf again after years of debilitating back pain.
Speaking at the Unite to Cure conference on April 27 in Vatican City, Nicklaus, also known as the Golden Bear, told how he had suffered back pain since he was a child, who was unsuccessfully treated with cortisol injections.
Then, two years ago, when he was 76, he met Dr. Eckhard Alt at the birthday party of American health philanthropist Denny Sanford. It was a fortuitous meeting; Alt had pioneered an experimental stem cell treatment at his clinic in Munich, Germany. “I decided to try the stem cells,” said Nicklaus, who became one of the first patients. He had to travel to Germany to receive the treatment because it is not approved in the USA. UU., Where stem cell therapy is highly regulated.
When he underwent treatment in March 2016, Nicklaus’s back pain was so severe that he had trouble stopping. “I couldn’t hit a golf ball without hurting myself. I couldn’t stop for more than 10 minutes, ”he said.
During the treatment developed by Alt, the source of pain is first diagnosed by ultrasound. Liposuction is used to take a sample of adipose tissue from the abdomen or buttocks and then processed to leave a solution rich in fat-derived stem cells. These are from the same cell lineage that can produce cartilage or bone, says David Pearce, executive vice president of research at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The cells were injected back into Nicklaus’ back in an outpatient procedure that meant he was allowed to leave the hospital the next day. Thanks to therapy, Nicklaus says he can go back to golf without pain, and can endure “as long as he wants.”
The therapy seems to work by relieving inflammation at the site of pain, but it could also help repair damaged tissue. “In animal studies there has been regeneration of tissue that is inflamed,” says Pearce. In addition, it is safe because it uses the patient’s own cells, instead of a donor, he says.
Nicklaus is about to return to Munich to receive the same treatment for a rotator cuff injury on his shoulder. While there, he plans to get a recharge of stem cells on his back.
Pearce, who leads the therapy trials for rotator cuff injury in the United States, says the therapy tends to be a unique treatment. The US Food and Drug Administration. UU. He now approved that Sanford Health conduct a trial on back pain in the US. Using Alt’s method, which should start in June, says Pearce. “In the United States, the most common reason people show up in the emergency room is back pain,” he adds.
Nicklaus said that the reason he hadn’t talked about his treatment before was simply because nobody had asked him about it. His two children have received the same therapy.
“I have become a believer and have had good results,” Nicklaus told the conference. “I tell people” it is better to get a plane to Munich or wait for the FDA to approve it, “although he acknowledges that the first option is the most realistic at this time.
Source: News Scientist
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