New stem cell therapy grows bone tissue

5:12 PM, Jun 12, 2012   |    comments
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EDINA, Minn. -- A Twin Cities doctor is using a new therapy that basically grows bone tissue. It's a product made from adult stem cells and it has helped Amanda Nelson get moving again.

She took a simple walk with her mom around Lake Cornelia in Edina Tuesday. But a simple walk is something Nelson doesn't take for granted because for three years, walking was incredibly painful.

That pain began four years ago after Nelson took just one bad step. Nelson said, "I thought I was at the bottom and I had one more stair left and I took my foot and I thought I just rolled it but I actually took my toes all the way back toward my ankle, dislocated everything."

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Chris Coetzee, of Twin Cities Orthopedics, said Nelson hyper-flexed her foot, dislocating the joints in the upper part near her ankle.

Her one bad step also tore ligaments in her foot, making the joints unstable. Nelson, a nurse, couldn't do her job. She said, "I couldn't work on the floor passing meds and anything because I hurt so bad. So I had to pretty much take an office job."

After trying multiple casts, boots and ligament surgery, her foot still didn't heal. So, the next option was bone grafts to fuse the joints together to eliminate the pain. Unfortunately, one of the grafts on the joint on the side of her foot didn't work so the pain remained.

That's when Dr. Coetzee tried Allostem, a new stem cell product taken from adult cadaver fat tissue. It stimulated bone growth in Nelson's foot joint, fusing it.

Allostem is Food and Drug Administration approved and covered by insurance but is still being studied. Dr. Coetzee said, "It's very exciting to hopefully be on the cutting edge of new technology."

Nelson feels great now. She's working as a nurse again giving care, rather than needing it. She said, "Now I can go for a four mile walk and feel fine the next day I don't have hardly any pain."

Allosource, which makes Allostem, says the stem cell product also saved a New Jersey woman's foot from amputation.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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