Texas Man Says Stem Cell Treatment Saved His Life

Texas man reports improvements after autologous stem cell treatment in Thailand for heart failure; more than 200 scientific trials underway in U.S. for stem cell treatments for heart disease.

November 13, 2009 – Ginger Allen of CBS 11/TXA 21 television stations interviews a man who received a treatment using his own stem cells three years ago in Bangkok. After three heart attacks and bypass surgery that nearly killed him, 85-year-old Joe Woofolk discusses his improvements after receiving this "last resort" treatment for his heart failure.

Doctors in Thailand removed adult stem cells from Joe's bone marrow and immediately sent them to a lab in Israel. There, the cells were grown for a week then flown back to Thailand where they were injected directly into Joe's failing heart. Mr. Woofolk reports that he's living proof stem cell therapy works, saying, "My blood pressure is normal, stress test is fine, I just turned 65 and I can play 36 holes of golf."

Dr. Jay Schneider, a cardiologist at UT Southwestern in Dallas who is studying stem cell therapy for heart disease, commented. "For patients with advanced heart failure there are really no options. It's thought that those cells can be injected into the heart and in that environment they might rebuild heart muscle," he said. Dr. Schneider's team recently received millions of dollars to study whether stem cells can help heal damaged heart muscle.

Although Joe's procedure was considered controversial just three years ago, there are close to 200 scientific trials going on right now around the country focusing on stem cell therapy for heart patients.