View Full Version : Stem Cell Therapy Helps Veteran Yankees Pitcher Get Back on the Mound

05-21-2011, 12:21 PM
Stem Cell Therapy Helps Veteran Yankees Pitcher Get Back on the Mound
Dr. Joseph Purita is a firm believer in extra innings...and 13 year veteran Major League pitcher, Bartolo Colon, is now a firm believer in Dr. Purita.



PRLog (Press Release) – May 21, 2011 – Dr. Joseph Purita, through his company, the Institute of Regenerative and Molecular Orthopedics, has been at the forefront of stem cell research. As one of the few physicians who utilize both bone marrow and fat stem cells in the treatment of muscular problems, Dr. Purita has spent his medical career on the cutting edge of anti-aging technology. He helped streamline the process by using supplements, prescription medications and new techniques to stimulate stem cell output. Using this combination of medical technologies has allowed Dr. Purita to develop various non-surgical solutions for many common orthopedic problems.

Yankees pitcher Bartolo Colon thought his career was over in 2009, after a number of injuries to his throwing shoulder and elbow -- ranging from bone chips to ligament, tendon and rotator cuff damage -- limited his starts and his effectiveness the previous three seasons. Not ready to give up his place on the mound, Colon had his doctors in the Dominican Republic seek out a U.S. surgeon with great knowledge and vast experience using stem cells for athletic injuries. After learning of Dr. Purita's advances in stem cell therapy for orthopedic medicine, Colon and his doctors turned to Dr. Purita in March 2010.

Using a number of different procedures, ranging from bone marrow stem cells to the grafting of fat cells, Dr. Purita went at the task of turning back the clock on Colon's career. Once Colon's shoulder and elbow had been rejuvenated using the stem cell therapies, it was time to give it a test run. Colon joined up with Aguilas and the Leones del Escogido to play in the Dominican winter league. Ecstatic over the success he was experiencing on the mound and the fact that he was pain-free for the first time in years, Colon decided to take the next step and announce that he would be making a comeback into Major League Baseball. The New York Yankees took a look at Colon and saw the same pitcher who had won 153 games in his big league career, and signed him to a minor league contract. They invited Colon to compete in Spring Training with the parent club as well, and were so impressed with his recovery that they signed him to the Yankees roster heading into the 2011 season.

Since then, Colon has been nothing short of magic. He was inserted into the Yankees rotation when young starter Phil Hughes experienced arm troubles, and in his first 6 starts, Colon has gone 2-2 with an impressive 3.16 ERA and a career-best 1.16 WHiP ratio. When asked about his career turn-around after recently shutting out the Baltimore Orioles for eight innings, Colon simply replied "I'm feeling really good!"

Dr. Purita has worked with a number of high profile athletes and professional non-athletes alike over the years, and his commitment to giving his patients a healthy, productive and pain-free lifestyle is the driving force behind his continuing medical advances.

05-21-2011, 01:33 PM
Here's a little more on his method:

Stem Cell and PRP Therapy for Orthopedic Conditions

Friday, 16 October 2009

BOCA RATON, Fla., Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Although stem cells sounds innovative and cutting edge, this therapy has been around for quite some time. In today's advanced medical climate stem cells are being used to treat many orthopedic conditions including osteoarthritis of the hip knee and shoulder, partial tears of tendons, muscles, and ligaments including rotator cuff tears, and various back conditions including disc herniations. This is accomplished by redirecting stem cells that your body is already producing to cure these problems.

In the past, stem cells were very difficult and expensive to procure. With newer techniques and equipment, stem cells can easily be obtained and concentrated by a simple office procedure. Stem cells are collected by aspirating bone marrow from the back of a patient's pelvis. In the bone marrow aspirate is a bloody substance that is removed from the pelvis through a small needle with minimal discomfort since the area is well numbed with a local anesthetic. Most procedures require about 2oz. (60cc) of bone marrow aspirate. This aspirate contains mesenchymal stem cells, platelets, and other cell material.

After extraction the patients' bone marrow is run through a centrifuge causing the stem cells and platelets to be separated from the rest of the blood products. It is this concentration of bone marrow that is injected back into the injured area. The concentration is called BMAC or bone marrow aspiration concentrate and when introduced back into the body, the platelets release growth factors and signaling proteins that basically tell the stem cells what to become.

In most instances Stem Cells can also be harvested from a patient's fatty tissue. Plastic surgeons have used this technique for several years and found that Fat stem cells often take on the characteristics of the surrounding tissue and aid in the healing process. We know that fatty tissue is a very rich source of stem cells and while the harvesting process differs slightly from stems cells that are gathered from bone marrow, the reintroduction and use of these types of cells is identical regardless of where or how the cells are taken. A combination of fat and bone marrow stem cells can form a potent army often able to fix problems once thought to be unfixable.

Dr. Joseph Purita, a pioneer in the use of the stem cells in orthopedic surgery and founder of The Institute for Regenerative and Molecular Orthopaedics, has been treating his patients with this type of Stem Cell therapy and witnessing remarkable results. His facility has performed over 1,000 cases. In a recent survey 89% of knee patients reported more than 50% relief of symptoms and more than half of them had greater than 75% relief. Additionally 75% of patients with chronic hip pain reported more than 50% relief of symptomatic pain or discomfort and 88% of those reporting indicated relief of 75% or greater.

While Dr. Purita is seeing great results he is cautious to add that this treatment for chronic bone and joint disease is not a panacea and not indicated for all patients. "Age, deterioration, and many other factors need be considered prior to embarking on this type of treatment. Patients who are candidates for Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy report remarkable improvement over time." Purita also cautions that this is not a Stem Cell growing and reintroduction procedure but a redirection of stem cells already present in a patients system. "Stem cells by themselves are not capable of repairing anything. The cells need to be directed, and the platelets in the blood stream act as the directors. Think of stem cells as the construction workers and the platelets as their supervisors telling them what to repair and where."

Dr. Purita encourages everyone to become informed prior to embarking on any medical procedure and in particular, newer technologies including Stem Cell Therapy.

SOURCE The Institute for Regenerative and Molecular Orthopaedics

06-10-2011, 09:11 AM
More info on the baseball player. Check out the doctors last paragraph. He is going to suggest to Major League Baseball that they set up a committee to regulate. The good doctor practices in Florida, goes to the Dominican Republic to do the stem cell treatments because the procedure is NOT approved by the FDA in the US, and he is advocating regulation by Major League Baseball?

The Editorial made a little better sense except for quote: "researchers should be carrying out trials of this therapy, not relying on athletic guinea pigs."



Stem cell therapy wasn't unfair help for baseball star
08 June 2011 by Ferris Jabr

BARTOLO COLÓN, a pitcher for the New York Yankees, is at the centre of a Major League Baseball (MLB) investigation after he opted for stem cell therapy to treat an elbow and shoulder injury.

MLB wants to know whether such stem cell treatment qualifies as a performance-enhancing drug. If Colón's procedure included a dose of human growth hormone - which is banned in baseball - then MLB might have a case. But a New Scientist investigation suggests that the treatment was probably restorative, and does not endow people with "superhuman" powers.

Colón's professional baseball career began impressively. In 2005 he won the American League Cy Young award for best pitcher. However, that season he partially tore the rotator cuff in his pitching arm, a group of muscles and tendons that stabilise the shoulder. In the years following the injury, Colón's rise faltered. He was sidelined in the final two months of the 2009 season and didn't play at all in 2010. However, after impressive pitching in the 2010 off-season, the Yankees signed the 38-year-old in January this year on a $900,000 contract. Colón is now back in action, pitching at 150 kilometres per hour in MLB games.

What changed? It seems that Colón has grown a new tendon thanks to stem cell therapy.

Joseph Purita, an orthopaedic surgeon who runs a regenerative medicine clinic in Boca Raton, Florida, treated the athlete in the Dominican Republic in April 2010. In a 45-minute procedure, Purita says he extracted Colón's stem cells from his bone marrow and fatty tissue and then injected them into his elbow and shoulder to repair the damage - without using any human growth hormone.

Damon Noto of the Spine and Joint Center in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, and the Hackensack University Medical Center performs the surgery Colón received, and explained how the operation works.

First, a tissue sample containing mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is extracted from two places in the patient's body: bone marrow and fatty tissue. MSCs have the ability to become bone, fat, cartilage, neurons and connective tissue, among other cells. After centrifuging the extracted sample to isolate the stem cells, they are injected into the site of injury.

This is essentially a more sophisticated version of a treatment that athletes have received since the 1980s called microfracture surgery. In this surgery, holes are drilled into an injured bone, allowing MSCs to seep out and repair the damaged cartilage, bone or tendon.

Exactly what MSCs do is not clear, but there are two main hypotheses: either the stem cells become new tendon and muscle tissue themselves, or they release growth factors that encourage resident tendon and muscle cells to proliferate at the injured site.

If the MSCs do grow into a new body part, an important question arises: can they regrow it so effectively that they endow it with enhanced abilities? Colón reportedly says he feels like he has the shoulder of his youth again. Noto is impressed. "The power of this treatment continues to amaze me," he says. "He had this procedure and within a couple of months he's back to pitching like he did when he was a younger man." Yet Purita says there is no research in people on whether stem cell therapy improves tendon or joint performance beyond pre-injury abilities.

In horses, however, it's a different matter. Roger Smith of the Royal Veterinary College in North Mymms, Hertfordshire, UK, and colleagues have pioneered stem cell injection therapy for racehorses with injured tendons, and have examined the results.

When horses with tendon injuries receive conventional treatment, between 50 and 60 per cent of the animals re-injure themselves after treatment, Smith says. But when Smith and colleagues tracked the health of 141 racehorses who received stem cell therapy following injury, they found that the rate of re-injury dropped to 27.4 per cent. What's more, the horses showed no signs of tumours, which sometimes develop after treatments with pluripotent embryonic stem cells (Equine Veterinary Journal, DOI: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2011.00363.x).

In unpublished research, Smith tested the elasticity of injured horse tendons repaired with MSCs. The data, he says, suggest that the tendons are as elastic as they were before injury, but do not gain superequine powers. If this holds true for people, then Colón's surgery probably restored his rotator cuff to its former glory without granting the athlete any talents he didn't possess before his injuries.

However, Purita is concerned that the procedure could be abused by athletes in the future if it is not used exclusively as a treatment. "I'm going to suggest to the MLB that we form a committee to regulate this and determine when it's appropriate and when it's not," he says.

The real problem of Bartolo Colón's stem cell therapy
08 June 2011

The furore over the baseball player's treatment misses a wider point – researchers should be carrying out trials of this therapy, not relying on athletic guinea pigs

SINCE early antiquity, athletes have been addicted to winning, and willing to try anything that could help improve their performance - from the consumption of hallucinogenic toadstools by Norse warriors to the use of stimulants by Roman gladiators to stave off fatigue.

Nowadays, better technology and training regimes are the main improvers. Yet question marks hang over where improvement ends and illegal performance enhancement begins. The latest controversy concerns the case of the New York Yankees pitcher Bartolo Colón (see "Stem cell therapy wasn't unfair help for baseball star").

After five years struggling with a shoulder injury that stopped him playing, Colón received a pioneering stem cell treatment in the Dominican Republic. He is now back on the diamond, pitching at 150 kilometres per hour. But his career remains in the balance, as Major League Baseball has just opened an investigation to find out whether this treatment should be classed as doping.

Sports governing bodies ban doping procedures designed to enhance performance. There are good reasons for this, notably concerns about a treatment's side effects and the need to ensure fair competition. But what do we mean by enhancement? If the treatment produces a superhuman physique and performance it is unfair. Yet our investigation suggests that Colón's treatment falls well short of this and is a modification of natural repair, one where his own cells were used to restore his arm to its pre-injury state.

Radical treatments like this could open the door to new forms of regenerative therapy, not just for sports injuries, but also for conditions that affect us all as we age, such as sarcopenia, a debilitating loss of muscle. Colón's treatment is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration, so he is in effect a guinea pig for this procedure. As such, he is helping to compensate for the dearth of research in this underexploited realm of regenerative medicine.

Whatever the arguments about the use of this therapy in sport, its apparent success in restoring movement should inspire wider trials of treatments that could benefit millions.

06-10-2011, 11:23 AM

Combine the government with the ignorance of many regarding stem cells and you have the current situation in the US. No treatments available even though they've been proven to work.