2018 World Premiere: a life-changing therapy for SCI patients

Subscription

October 26, 2018 Barcelona Meeting


Bringing together all the stakeholders of the Kunming’s project.

The Barcelona meeting was organized by "Neurogel en Marche Association" in collaboration with the Step by Step Foundation in Barcelona. The Step by Step Foundation is a center of intensive functional rehabilitation for paralyzed people.

Objectives of the meeting included:

1) Having several patients, pre-selected by “Neurogel en Marche Association,” evaluated by the team of Dr. Zhu and Dr. Liu, who had come all the way from the Kunming International Center for the Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries, in the Yunnan province of China.
2) Introducing patients to the details of the activated fat-EPO therapy, the surgical procedure and the functional rehabilitation protocol, as well as initiating a collaboration between the Step by Step Foundation and the functional rehabilitation center of the Tongren Hospital.
3) All the major medical stakeholders for this study met to discuss the specific aspects of the fat-EPO therapy, finalize the surgical protocol, organize logistics for the patients, and obtain better synergy of effort as they proceed with the clinical study.
3-4 weeks before the meeting, “Neurogel en Marche Association” provided the Kunming team the patients’ clinical data, including brief outlines describing each case as best as possible, including the patient’s social and professional background and their motivation. All reports, including copies of MRI images and X-rays, were provided to the Kunming team.
In the end, the five French patients presented for the study were accepted. Consequently, the clinical study will start early March if funding is available.

Tongren’s International SCI Center

The Kunming team has a worldwide reputation. It collaborates with American universities and has conducted clinical studies in collaboration with Dr. Wise Young, of the Miami Project. The surgical approach is a major requirement for achieving sensory and motor recovery. That is why "Neurogel en Marche Association” contacted and finalized this project with the International Center of Kunming. Dr. Liu, Head of the Neurosurgery Department and author of seven patents on techniques and surgical approaches to spinal cord injury gave a presentation on the surgical protocol during this meeting.
Whenever required, Dr. Liu intends to first perform a laminectomy on four or five levels to put the lesion in the center of the operating field; then he will open the dura mater to make all the scar tissues visible, remove arachnoid cysts, adhesions to access the intramedullary pathway and reach the cysts. Given his experience, this procedure seems relatively routine for Dr. Liu.
Dr. Zhu, who runs the Kunming Center, is a very energetic personality with extensive knowledge, ranging from neurosurgery, to neurobiology, acupuncture, and of course physiotherapy. Kunming's Physical Rehabilitation Center is very focused on walking and active exercises with little technical help. The therapy includes all kinds of mobilization exercises, but walking remains the central theme: making the individual stand on their legs with total weight bearing and reactivating visual, mental and physical senses of the walking function. The post-surgery stimulation must then be as close to normal walking as possible so that the sensory return may be as close to reality as possible. Physiotherapy will be a tough challenge, and the Kunming team has clearly warned volunteer patients that things will not be simple at this level, especially since they will have to follow 36 hours of therapy per week.

Pr. Gorio’s presentation

Pr. Gorio, from the University of Milan, gave a brilliant lecture. First, he demonstrated the inevitable role of EPO in neuronal regeneration. He immediately pointed out the error that science made in obscuring or ignoring the major role of EPO in the regeneration of the central nervous system. Relying upon two human studies, he showed the expression of EPO in the brain, neurons, and the impact on survival, the development of the central nervous system. Pr. Gorio then discussed aspects of abdominal fat and its natural properties. He explained that the patient’s adipose tissue is extracted by liposuction, then treated in a sterile manner with a patented mechanical process.
The fat is subjected to mechanical forces for a specific time and frequencies. This activated fat provides the stem cells it contains with extremely high immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory factors, as well as key factors for the regeneration of the central nervous system (CNS) without using any chemical or genetic method. The activated fat becomes a three-dimensional bio-adhesive growth matrix that enables the regrowth of nerve fibers. Activated fat stem cells differentiate and survive in the heart of the injured tissue. In combination with EPO, spinal cord neural stem cells migrate toward the activated fat. They can then organize a new neural structure and initiate a regrowth of nerve fibers. Prof Gorio showed quick results and functional recovery in mice in 3 weeks.
 

The volunteer patients

As previously mentioned, several patients were evaluated by the Kunming team. "Neurogel en Marche Association” had previously sent the patients’ clinical data to the Kunming team. While at the Step by step Foundation, a two-part patient assessment was accomplished: a physiological evaluation and the analysis of clinical data. In the end, five patients were selected to participate in this unique project, resulting in scenes of jubilation and the creation of very strong bonds between patients who are going to face surgery, and then months of intensive rehabilitation together. Selected patients are:
Our dear Virginia Bennett, C5/C6 quadriplegic, a very active member of our association. - Mr. Michael Keush, 31 years old, T11 paraplegic for only 1 year - Mr.Zafer Sarisu, 29 years old, T8 paraplegic since 2010 - Mr. Stéphane Martin, 44 years old, T10 paraplegic since 2015 - Mr Eric Roulet, 56 years old, T5 paraplegic since 2015.
 

The Kunming team

The Kunming team now knows how to apply the activated fat therapy and already masters the surgical protocol. Although there are always clinical risks, with an activated fat implant such as activated fat, these risks remain low. The operations are to begin in March 2019 and should be completed within a few days, so that the patients might begin physiotherapy at the same time, and be a source of encouragement for the whole group. The Kunming team also hope links will be woven with the group of six Chinese patients who will also be part of the clinical study.
 

Funding

Funding becomes the major goal to finalize the study and allow French patients to go to Kunming. "Neurogel en Marche Association” has signed a contract with the Kunming Center for these operations for a total cost 720,000 euros. We have raised 350,000 euros so far, if we count on pledges. Now that we have the assurance that this study is going to take place and that patients have been selected, “Neurogel en Marche Association” wishes to mobilize all its members, the community of paralyzed people and fellow citizens. We need a strong chain of national solidarity so that our volunteer patients can benefit from this treatment and may hope to walk again.
 

Help them heal by making a donation!

Thank you in advance!

 
Pierre Rondio
President "Neurogel en Marche"