My third stem cell treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

Guest Author: David Lyons
Updated on
Apr 24, 2023

Guest author David Lyons shares his stem cell experience at DVC Stem, an advanced stem cell therapy clinic in Grand Cayman.

My third stem cell treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

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Stem cell treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

I have had an ongoing relationship with stem cell treatments as an alternative way to help fight off the progression of my MS. I’ve essentially made myself a guinea pig for this procedure, which does not have a very long history or many studies behind it. I’ve had failure and success, but overall the positives have been life-changing for me. I am continuing down this path of healing since there is currently no cure for MS, and at 61 years old, time is not on my side for a cure to be released! 

On August 22, 2018, I was in the Cayman Islands at DVC Stem, getting 300 million umbilical cord tissue stem cells transfused by an IV into my arm. The story about my experience was written in my Everyday Health column blog on October 31, 2018, just two months after I returned home. I talked about the positive response I was getting in such a short time, but I was also skeptically optimistic since I had seen similar results with my first stem cell treatment in 2014.  

That treatment was quite different than this one. It was a mesenchymal stem cell transplant, a procedure in which adult stem cells were isolated from my fat tissue, grown in a lab, and reinfused into my body. I had great results that were short-lived, and within three months of that initial treatment, all my MS symptoms had returned.

Stem cells fixed my foot drop

When my left side drop foot was gone, I could now jump off the floor, and I was able to regain some feeling in my left arm within these two months I needed to give this new stem cell treatment some more time before I could positively state that this one worked. I had no idea if the reversal of my symptom relief would happen the same way it did in 2014. So I waited and kept working out in the gym as I have always done, pushing myself harder as time went by. 

I found my body getting stronger and stronger as the months passed, and I even filmed myself squatting 500 lbs and posted it in our MS Fitness Challenge GYM Facebook group to show the world I did not just imagine the results. My left leg was almost as good as my right one, which was never affected by the MS months after the treatment. My overall strength was increasing, and I could train like a 30-year-old consistently.  

I continued to see positive results months after treatment

As the months kept ticking away, I started to see more results. By the eighth month or so, I was running on the treadmill, and at approximately month nine, I was jumping rope. Again I filmed and posted these results as they were miraculous for me. I had not run or jumped rope in almost 14 years. 

I was and am extremely happy with the abilities my legs are now capable of, but I still only received about 30% of the feeling back in my left arm and hand. I want that back the same way I have my left leg again. With that goal in mind, I reached out to Dr. Louis A. Cona at DVC Stem and asked if I was eligible for more cells. I also asked if he thought more cells would do for my left arm and hand what it did for my left leg and foot. 

Pictured: MS Patient David Lyons with Dr. Louis A. Cona, MD and Director of Operations Frank Cona

His answer was honest and direct that no one knew the results I would get from the August 2018 treatment, and here I am running, jumping rope and squatting like a champion. We had nothing to lose by transfusing another 300 million cells into my body, but we had to wait long enough from the other 300 million. We both thought since my leg no longer needs the cell repair, maybe they will find their way to my arm! Stem cells seem to go where they need to and repair the damage. It’s worth a shot. So I booked my flight back to the Cayman Islands for a January 15 infusion. And now I am home. 

It’s only been a month, but I can already feel hot and cold in my left hand, which I have not been able to do since 2014 when I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Again, I am optimistic that I will get similar results in the areas of the body I need them now. But only time will tell if that will happen or not. All I can say is that this new umbilical cord tissue-derived stem cell therapy has changed my life. I am not a medical doctor or a scientist, and I cannot answer the what, why’s and how’s of this treatment, but I did get a statement from DVC Stem that may shed some light on what they are doing in the stem cell arena.

DVC Stem is currently in the process of executing our registered clinical trial testing the efficacy of IV administration of Umbilical Cord Tissue-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells for the treatment of Chronic Inflammation and Multiple Sclerosis. This specific protocol is independently IRB reviewed and approved by a medical board in California. 

To measure the effectiveness of treatment for MS, patients undergo blood work within three months of treatment to test a panel of inflammatory markers, submit recent imagining reports (MRI/CT), and complete an extensive vitality questionnaire for their subjective assessment of over 25 metrics. This process is then completed again at the 3, 6, 9, and 12-month mark post-treatment for comparison.

Our treatment protocol consists of a two-day period, including the IV transplant of 300M cord tissue-derived MSCs, as well as a variety of therapies designed to aid stem cell activation and potency (physiotherapy, acupuncture, lymphatic massage, vitamin therapy, etc.). The procedure is minimally invasive (single IV transfusion) and has minimal downtime.

DVC Stem uses cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells ethically sourced from AATB certified, US-donated, full-term human umbilical cords. We administer over 300 million cells that are all thoroughly tested for viability before treatment to ISCT standards. These cells are NOT a blood product and therefore are incredibly safe and do not require HLA or phenotypic matching.

The cells are then expanded in our award-winning partner medical laboratory located in the United States which is fully FDA registered, cGMP compliant, ISO 9001, and ISO 13485 certified.

“Results have been positive so far, with approximately 75% of participants reporting significant improvement within three months of treatment, and showing little to no signs of regression out to 18-24 months. Our full trial results are expected to be published later this year.” - Louis A. Cona, MD

So where am I at now?

As I enter my second month after treatment, I can see a path for my left arm/hand that will be similar to the one obtained for my left leg/foot. I feel stronger and ready to take on even more challenges in the gym. When asked if it is worth travelling across the country from the west coast and then heading to the Caymans for this procedure, all I can say is for me the trips have put me on the road to being able to continue to conquer MS. I don’t know anything else that can do what stem cell treatments at DVC Stem can do in the battle against MS. There is nothing to lose! 

- David Lyons, Founder, MS Fitness Challenge Charity

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