Ikudayisi: Adult stem cell therapy takes care of health conditions once thought untreatable
‘ASCT Is Like Miracle God Has Placed In Hands Of Humans’
Dr. David Ikudayisi is a United States (U.S.) Board Certified Internist with a strong passion for regenerative aesthetic and cosmetic medicine. Ikudayisi was born in Nigeria, where he studied medicine at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. He won the sole Bureau for External Aids (BEA) scholarship in his state for that year to study medicine in Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy, Russia. After graduation, he went to the United States for further education. Ikudayisi is the Medical Director of Glory Wellness & Regenerative Centres in Lagos and Abuja. In this interview with The Guardian, he said that adult stem cell therapy (ASCT) could reverse the symptoms of so called incurable diseases, repair and regenerate the damaged tissues or organs involved.
Ikudayisi said ASCT can regenerate the bony joints in arthritis, repair and strengthen partial rotator cuff tears and avascular necrosis of the hip without surgery, revitalise the sexual organs in men and women, modulate immune system without use of medications that have very serious side effects in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, Crohn’s disease, among others. Ikudayisi said with ASCT, paralysed patients and multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are gaining their body functions back and for them, it is like a miracle that God has place in the hands of humans.
He, however, said that ASCT is different from cloning. The surgeon said cloning has to do with embryonic stem cell therapy (ESCT), which involves use of embryos, that of a baby-to-be in the first eight weeks of pregnancy while in ASCT, the stem cells are obtained from an adult patient who will also be the recipient of the same stem cells. He said with governments’ support, Nigeria could become the centre for medical tourism in Africa. CHUKWUMA MUANYA reports.
Why is Nigeria still recording poor health indices?
There are many reasons why Nigeria is recording poor health indices. One of them is that most Nigerians do not embrace Preventive Medicine. We promote but do not practice the ideology that “Prevention is better than Cure”. For example, many could be saved by better access to medical care in Nigeria for high blood pressure (which is responsible for the bulk of heart disease-related deaths annually), high blood cholesterol and other conditions that raise the risk for heart disease and stroke. The death rate from cardiovascular disease (CVD) can also be reduced. Many of the people who die annually from cardiovascular disease have been exposed to unhealthy behaviours, including tobacco use, eating foods containing too much salt and inadequate physical activity that could have been corrected. Another example is screening mammogram for all women age 40 and above to detect breast cancer at very early stage when it may still be curable. This will reduce the mortality rate from breast cancer, thereby helping to improve the country’s health index. We as a people need to agree to reduce emergency health care.
What would you say is the problem with health care delivery in the country?
The accessibility to health services is very low in Nigeria in spite of a great demand for it. Some of the many factors affecting the health care delivery in Nigeria include, medical intelligence and surveillance, the cost of medical equipments and pharmaceuticals, cultural beliefs, socio-economic and political factors, sustainability of services, weak referral system, etc.
Weak execution and inadequate management of government policies and schemes is another identifiable problem with health care delivery in Nigeria. For example, educating people on prevailing health problems and the methods of preventing and controlling them has been one of the objectives of the primary health care plan that the Federal Government has had since August 1987. This health care plan as a whole is still suffering.
If managed well, the Nigerian health insurance scheme (NHIS) that the Federal Government established in 2005 could be a useful ground for good health care delivery, though it may not adequately account for the needs of all the Nigerian people. Nevertheless, it will advance us from where we are now.
How can these be addressed?
I believe the government at every level has to improve on their roles in planning and implementing health policies and programs, provide good infrastructures, constant energy supply, etc.
I also think that the general practitioners (GPs) have to do better in referring patients to the specialists and the specialists need to do better in working with the GPs.
In addition to adequate management and strong leadership principles, we need a system that is well grounded in routine surveillance and medical intelligence.
The good news is that we now have some private health care centres in Nigeria that provide good health services that are equivalent to European and American standards. It is still the ultimate responsibility of the Federal Government of Nigeria to advance our health care system from its status quo. There is limit to what individual practitioners can do.
Is adult stem cell therapy part of the solution?
Yes. Adult Stem Cell Therapy (ASCT) can help reduce our mortality rate in Nigeria, thereby recording better health indices.
Explain how Adult Stem Cell Therapy will do that?
ASCT and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy are both under the specialty of medicine known as Regenerative Medicine. ASCT as of today, as well as SCT generally in future, hold answers to many questions and problems that we doctors used to believe to have no solutions. Many medical conditions that we thought were not treatable are now treatable. In every individual, Adult stem cell therapy with or without PRP Therapy revitalizes and regenerates the body organs and systems; it also reverses and repairs many pending subclinical medical problems before they become apparent, including the diseases that are age-related, which conventional treatments cannot do.
Intravenous application of adult adipose (Fat) stem cell therapy is good for anti-ageing and generalized body treatment. As a human being, you are a mortal. This means you will die one day. While alive, you want to live a good quality of life till your old age and enjoy the fruits of your labours before you eventually die. And most importantly, you want to die at the age God has assigned for you to die and not at the age that some preventable conditions caused you to die.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), as of 2015 in Nigeria, the probability of dying at age 50-54 for female is 0.06 and for male is 0.076. To make matters worse, the probability doubles 6-10 years later, increasing at age 60-64 for female to 0.127 and for male to 0.145. The probability of dying at early age or prematurely because of preventable medical conditions can be reduced with use of ASCT. Of course, when God says it is time to die, then it is time to die and there is nothing ASCT can do for you.
Who and who needs stem cell therapy?
Stem cell therapy isn’t for everyone, but it might be the right thing for you. Most adults, both sick and healthy, may benefit from adult stem cell therapy with or without PRP therapy at one point in life or the other.
In ailing individual and healthy individual, adult stem cell therapy does exactly the same thing but gives sick people more noticeable improvement in their quality of life, and there are studies/researches going on to see how it can be utilized for the treatment of cancers.
The basic way to know who will benefit as of today is by simply understanding that if there is need to repair and/or regenerate any part of the human tissue/organ, the ASCT with/without PRP therapy may be an option that will help. However, there are exceptions like in sickle cell anaemia and most cancers. In the future, the cancer patients may benefit from autologous adult stem cell therapy (donor is the same person as the recipient) but sickle cell patients can only benefit from heterologous stem cell therapy (donor is a different person from the recipient).
Do we have centres in Nigeria that offer such services?
Currently, there are centers in Ikeja GRA, Lekki, Ikoyi, Abuja and may be more, where patients can be treated using adult stem cell therapy and PRP therapy without having to travel abroad. As I said earlier, there are private health care centres in Nigeria that provide excellent health care services in comparison with European and American standards.
What disease conditions can stem cell therapy address?
The list is enormous, some diseases and cosmetic or aesthetic conditions are already showing results while others are still in pipeline waiting for conclusion of researches and clinical trials.
Local applications include: multiple joint pain, back pain, degenerative disc disease, meniscal tears, ligament tears, avascular necrosis of the hip joints, facet arthropathy, plantar fasciitis, post-surgical hip pain, post-surgical knee pain, limb ischemia, carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ pain, bursitis, chronic non-healing wounds, diabetic foot, dental procedures, hair thinning, erectile dysfunction, peyronies disease in men, female sexual dysfunction, female urinary incontinence, lichen sclerosus, cosmetic/aesthetic applications (vampire facial, vampire facelift, vampire breast and nipple lift), etc.
Systemic applications include: diabetes, hypertension, anti-ageing (generalized treatment), fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic kidney disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, multiple sclerosis, parkinson’s disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack (myocardial infarction), stroke, cerebral palsy, cerebral atrophy, brain injury, Alzheimer’s (memory) disease, autism, spinal cord injury, leukaemia, COPD (lung disease), Crohn’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and infertility, etc. In regards to infertility treatment, those that opt for adult stem cell therapy are doing so to increase their chances of becoming fertile or increase their chances of having successful In vitro fertilization (IVF).
What is the cost of the therapy compared to conventional ones?
The cost varies, but it is definitely less expensive than surgery: at least in United States. Again, it is not for everyone, but health is wealth.
Does it have any side effects?
No. The type of stem cell treatment we are talking about is Autologous, i.e. obtained from the same adult patient, hence the name adult stem cells. Therefore, there is no risk of rejection of the stem cell transplant. As with any procedure, there is risk of infection but minimal if done under the right conditions.
Does it have any advantage over conventional treatments?
Yes. There are some diseases that conventional treatments have no cure for, but adult stem cell therapy can reverse the symptoms of those diseases, repair and regenerated the damaged tissues or organs involved. For example, it can regenerate the bony joints in arthritis, repair and strengthen partial rotator cuff tears and avascular necrosis of the hip without surgery, revitalize the sexual organs in men and women, modulate immune system without use of medications that have very serious side effects in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, Crohn’s disease, etc.
Another advantage is its application in neurological and spinal cord injury. In conventional medicine, we believe that it is rare for nerves to regenerate, stem cell therapy is proving this wrong. With adult stem cell therapy, paralyzed patients and multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are gaining their body functions back and for them, it is like a miracle that God has placed in the hands of humans. It would be very remiss of me not to mention that the treatments in these cases could range from one to six sessions with physical therapy involved, and the results could take a period of time to manifest (weeks to months).
Some school of thoughts are kicking against stem cell therapy. Why?
They are kicking against Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy (ESCT). ESCT involves use of embryos, that is, a baby-to-be in the first eight weeks of pregnancy. It is also important to understand that there are other types of stem cells. In addition to Embryonic stem cells (ESC), there are also Adult stem cells (ASC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). iPSCs are produced in the lab by reprogramming adult cells to express embryonic stem cells characteristics.
Here, we are talking about ASCT, that is the stem cells are obtained from an adult patient who will also be the recipient of the same stem cells.
In US, we must transplant the cells back to the same patient on the same day, while in some countries, the stem cells can be cultured to increase the quantity of stem cells before transplanting them back to the same patient who donated them.
Is there any relationship between stem cell therapy and cloning?
The answer to that question is complex. Yes, if you are talking about embryonic stem cell lines that can be derived using therapeutic cloning. However, the ASCT that we are talking about here is not related to cloning.
Can stem cell therapy be used for cancer and kidney disease patients?
ASCT can be used to regenerate renal cells in kidney diseases before the development of irreversible end stage renal failure and to shrink prostate and brain cancer. However, this may not include other cancers yet without first tissue engineering the stem cells. The tissue engineering of the stem cells are still under investigations. Stem cell transplant, which is also called peripheral blood stem cell transplant, is a treatment that can be used to try to cure some types of cancer, such as leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma as well.
How about in diabetics and stroke patients?
Yes. ASCT gradually lowers diabetic medications dosage and eventually may get the patients off diabetic medications. The stem cells in a hyperglycemic medium differentiate into pancreatic cells, lead to increased development of new blood vessels, secretion of various products of the immune system, and upregulation of pancreatic transcription factors and vascular growth factor, thereby helping the pancreas to regenerate and boost its ability to produce insulin. In stroke patients, stem cells activate cells around the suffering brain tissue to catalyze rapid healing and to improve brain function, thereby restoring motor function. Until recently, it was believed that damage to the brain tissue was permanent. Now the re-growth of brain cells and improvements of neurological function have been documented with the use of ASCs.
What motivated you to go into this branch of medicine?
I have a very strong passion for regenerative medicine because of the possibilities it provides. Regenerative medicine is the medicine of tomorrow that is available today and holds a lot of promises with the results that we are already seeing in our patients. The best part is that it is safe and natural with no possibility of transplant rejection. I am also highly motivated by the results the patients are getting.
We were taught in medical school that nerves cells do not regenerate, that there is no hope for paralyzed patients, and that damaged brain tissue is a permanent condition, just to name a few. Nowadays, the re-growth of brain cells and improvements of neurological function has been documented. When applicable, stem cell treatment is basically a medical time machine, reversing the damage that has already been made.
Is there any other thing you want Nigerians to know?
When applicable, regenerative medicine can help patients stop being dependent on taking medications daily, avoid surgery, feel younger and energized, and help couples perform their marital enjoyment at older ages as if they just got married. There are lots of cosmetic and aesthetic applications of Regenerative medicine that people are already benefiting from in the US and Europe. Nigeria should not be left behind, I understand it may not be for everyone. Nevertheless, we should take the lead in Africa. Federal Government will have to assist, as well, because a state of the art research laboratory centre does not come cheap, as there are still a lot more to be studied about stem cells. I believe with these innovations, Nigeria can be the centre for medical tourism in Africa.
I also want to point out that the elites of the Olympics have been using ASCT and PRP therapy for some years now. A couple of examples are Kobe Bryant, a US Olympic gold medalist basketball player who received stem cell therapy on his right knee in 2011, and Spanish Olympic gold medalist tennis player Rafael Nadal underwent stem cell therapy for his knee and for his spine. US’ Tiger Woods of the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) had PRP therapy in December of 2008, and in 2009 he had one of the best years of his career. In the 17 events he played in, he made the cut in 16 of them.
Some doctors are already offering regenerative medicine (PRP therapy and ASCT) in Nigeria. So, people don’t have to travel abroad to benefit from regenerative medicine. Just ask your doctor if someone in your area is offering ASCT and PRP Therapy.