For Alena, a champion of Russia’s 2017 modern dance championship, even one million suns could not compare with the one million stem cells injected into her body.
After got high paraplegia through a car accident, Alena’s life fell into darkness just like the movie “Sunshine”, doomsday of the world. While, all her better changes reply on the one million stem cells injected to her body.
Every stem cell is like a brand new sun. One million suns are illuminating Russia’s long distance to China and also illuminating Alena’s dark nights.
“Fortunately, in a number of treatment plans, my parents and I have made the right choice to come to China for stem cells treatment; in a number of medical institutions, we chose Dr. Cheng.” Alena told Dr. Cheng Hongbin, a Chinese neurosurgery medical PhD during her recovery. For Alena, every step of progress add confidence and taking her out of desperation.
Alena, a 19 years old girl, comes from Russia Libesk. She began to learn gymnastics when she was only 3 years old and participate in state-level events in the age of 7. She was awarded the title “sport star of athlete” when she was 13 years old and turned to modern dance and learned dance in DEMOS (Dimos) dance group the next year. She ever won the champion in Russian modern dance competition. With her efforts, she put all energy and time for the preparation of European Championship after she won the Russian modern dance championship trophy in April 2017.
In the morning of May 9th, Alena completed all day training at school. Alena could feel mother’s laughter dripping with honey over the phone,: “Baby, I have prepared your favorite mango juice, wait for you.”
After dropping call, Alena dragged her tired body and packed up immediately. Then she drove home with her teammates. When they arrived at Chapelle Road, they stopped at the side to have a short rest. They chatted against the door. Only two crossroads distance from Alena’s home, she even could smell the fragrance of mango.
There is no warning of the disaster. A car flew over. Alena was knocked to the ground. What was worse, the car did not stop and the driver escaped fast.
When Alena came back to life, she found that she could not feel anything below chest. Alena asked doctor desperately, “Can I still dance? Can I walk?”
The doctor told Alena’s parents that the car accident caused heavy injury: “Centrum T5 completed injury, cerebral concussion, left ribs 3-5, 7-11 fracture, left lung contusion.” Alena may spend most of her life on a wheelchair in future.
As the driver escaped, huge medical expenses can only be borne by this ordinary family. Alena, ever sunshine as a sunflower, was always in tears instead of smiling when she had to lie all day in bed.
It is Alena’s parents’ only wish to help Alena to stand up again. They began to search the best doctors and treatment methods around the world. Through multi-consultation and comparison, they finally put their hopes on the latest treatment – stem cell transplantation. However, this new medical technology has just stayed in the laboratory stage and not yet entered the clinical stage in Russia.
After many comparisons, they selected a Chinese neurosurgery Phd, Dr. Cheng Hongbin. They do everything possible to raise funds and set foot on the road to China.
Dr. Cheng Hongbin, a tall and sunny doctor who lives in a small town on the Sino-Russian border. He can not only speak fluent Russian, but also conducted stem cell therapy for more than 16,000 patients from over 30 countries over the past 15 years. Among them, there are more than 5,000 spinal cord injury patients, who are from Vietnam, the United States, Britain, Russia, Canada and other countries. The treatment efficiency is up to 80%.
Although stem cell transplantation was once widely carried out in large and small hospitals in China, in the international public’s doubt, such magic technology is not “encouraged” although many people insist on its optimistic effects.
Dr. Cheng Hongbin’s work was in trouble at certain time. However, when decided to focus on stem cell basic research projects, one after another foreign patients came for him through various channels.
Without exception, these patients from different countries trapped in the dilemma that traditional treatment cannot cure them. So they put all hopes on the magic of the seeds of life – stem cells.
On August 29th, Alena admitted to Intech Rehabilitation & Nursing Center and underwent a general examination. She behaved well for the final preparation before surgery.
“You are not the youngest spinal cord injury patient i treated, the youngest one is a 2-year-old girl, and you are not the most serious patient with high level nerve injury either.” Dr. Cheng Hongbin took out his phone and found a photo with one patient and told Alena, “15 years ago, my first case of high nerve injury patient called Dongchuan.”
Mr. Dong Chuan is a cervical spine serious injury patient. After injury, only the head can twist. All feelings disappeared below neck. He cannot take care of himself totally. Every day, he can only lie in bed with urine and faeces out of control. Dr. Cheng Hongbin conducted all the surgery for Mr. DongChuan. After surgery, Mr. Dong Chuan can hit the keyboard with both hands on the Internet; hands could hold the spoon to eat; legs can stand with the help of orthotics; body feelings regain; urine and faeces sensation and control ability recover. The quality of life has been greatly improved gradually.
Dr. Cheng arranged the current most advanced treatment for spinal cord injury patient- CT-guided intraspinal injection. CT-guided intraspinal injection was first created by Dr. Cheng Hongbin’s medical team. Dr. Cheng has independently completed more than 3,000 cases such surgery. This surgery should complete in the CT room. During operation, Doctor needs to select the spinal cord softening lesions from the upper and lower ends of the normal spinal cord as a puncture site. Under the guidance of CT, puncture stem cell suspension into the spinal cord. The advantages of this transplantation are precise positioning, minimally invasive, no bleeding, quick recovery and surgery time is only about half an hour, most patients got significant improvements through such surgery.
On August 30th morning, all tests results showed normal. According to the scheduled, Alena would accept the first time surgery in the afternoon.
On August 30th 17:00pm, surgery began and ended on time smoothly. The miracle occurred eight hours after surgery.On August 31st morning, when Alena woke up from a dream, she felt some heat from legs, abdomen and soles. Her nerves began to recover.
On September 1st, Alena’s sensation surface of left chest moved down about 6cm from Centrum T7.
Internationally, stem cells transplantation has five mains transplantation methods, including stereotactic brain surgery, lumbar puncture injection, interventional injection, intravenous injection and CT-guided intraspinal injection. Based on Dr. Cheng Hongbin years of treatment experience, he selected CT-guided intraspinal injection and lumbar puncture injection.
Unlike the first surgery, the stem cells entered from the waist for the second time.
On September 4th 16:00pm, Dr. Cheng injected the stem cells into the Alena’s subarachnoid space. With the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid, stem cells flow through the central nervous system. Through the release of neurotrophic substances to improve the nerve environment, it plays a regulatory role in adjusting the central nervous system.
After surgery, Alena’s waist regained feeling gradually and leg could feel stinging and ants climbing sensation, which were the performance of nerve function recovery. Alena felt the changes on her body and accepted rehabilitation with more confidence.
On September 8th, the third surgery was on schedule. On the second day after surgery, Alena suddenly felt knee pain during rehabilitation. Perceiving pain means that the brain has got signal from limbs and the injured nerve tissue function restored gradually.
At the same time during Alena’s surgery, a medical technology’s approval stimulated one US biotechnology stocks’ increase, it also brought firm confidence to Alena’s family.
According to US media reports, on September 1st 2017, US Food and Drug Administration official website published a message that they made a historic decision to approve the listed in the US, including the first gene therapy program in the United States, CAR-T treatment products, Novartis CTL019. CTL019 priced at $ 475,000 per patient. CTL019 is an immune cell of a genetically modified patient and is then returned to the patient for treatment.
Authoritative media reports from US have given Alena family a new understanding of stem cell transplantation – in the US, the cost of treatment is $ 460,000, eight times the cost of Alena surgery. “Do not promise any effect!” the words used on the American media news headlines, kept Alena smiling for a long time. After all, Alena’s physical rehabilitation is remarkable.
On September 13th, Alena discharged and returned home. In the postoperative follow-up, Alena told Dr. Cheng Hongbin in the video that her body is still recovering further, sensation surface is moving down continually, waist and leg strength increased obviously…….
“I am confident in rehabilitation and my future life,” Alena told the Chinese doctor.