How Stem Cell Therapy Saved One Man's Life


Pioneer Founding member
While new treatments come with new risks, Joseph's story shows that those risks can pay off

Entrepreneur Staff
August 30, 2019

Joseph’s Failing Health

Joseph Anthony Jerez was told by the best doctors in New York City that his kidneys were failing and that he needed dialysis. About eight years ago, he had been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, but at the time of his diagnosis he was told that if he kept his weight down, he would never need a transplant. That, unfortunately, wasn’t the truth.

As Joseph’s condition kept getting worse, he went in search of a solution, even as he told there wasn’t anything more than he could do. In January of 2018, he checked himself into the hospital, and was told his kidneys were about to fail.

That’s when Joseph decided to turn to stem cell therapy, even knowing that the treatment is experimental. Whenever he brought up the idea of doing stem cell therapy to his doctors, they had just brushed him aside. “They wanted nothing to do with me when I brought it up,” he said. If he wanted to pursue stem cell therapy to save his life, he’d have to do it on his own.

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cells are the cells present in our bodies that help regenerate tissues. These cells start to decline in our bodies as we age, and the goal with stem cell therapy is to replenish these cells and reintroduce new ones into our bodies to help us heal.

While stem cell therapy is only making baby steps in the US, other countries have been using it to help those affected by diseases that cause tissue damage. Stem cells can be collected from the adipose tissue, bone marrow, or peripheral blood of a patient, and for some cases can also be collected from tissue such as a placenta or umbilical cord that are donated after a healthy birth.

The stem cells are cultivated and then injected into the patient in the way that will most effectively reach the damaged tissue in their body.

The research behind the effectiveness of stem cell therapy is still in early stages in the United States, but early adopters are pioneering the treatment in clinics around the world.

Joseph’s Treatment

Joseph’s research lead him to the Swiss Medica clinic in Moscow for his stem cell therapy. He chose the clinic because it was one of the most highly reviewed centers that fit his budget.

Swiss Medica agreed to treat him, but only if he could get to Moscow as soon as possible. The clinic helped to expedite a visa for him, and so the journey began.

Joseph didn’t really know what to expect: what would healthcare be like in Russia? Would this experimental treatment even work? Or were his doctors right about there not being any more options for his kidney disease? He didn’t have anything else to lose, so he decided to go through with it.

It took every ounce of strength Joseph had to get himself on the plane to Russia, as he was ailing fast. When he touched down in Russia, he was very sick: along with his kidney disease, he had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

A translator met him at the airport, and they drove him to the small private clinic in Moscow. When he got settled in his room, half a dozen specialists came into the room to brief him on his initial two-week treatment.

“I’m disabled, and I’ve dealt with doctors my entire life, so I know who’s full of crap. And these doctors knew what they were talking about,” Joseph noted about his medical team in Moscow.

The level of care and attention was far and above what Joseph had experienced in the US, and the fact that most of the clinicians spoke English made taking control of his care easy. As he began his intravenous injections, he was monitored by the 24/7 staff of doctors and nurses.

“We’re told Russia is the enemy,” Joseph joked, “but everyone I interacted with was incredibly friendly.”

Life-changing Results

Within a week, he started feeling different. When he returned to the US, he saw the results of his treatment: his blood sugar had dropped to normal and he was no longer diabetic. His doctors from Swiss Medica kept in touch with him even while he was back in the US, reviewing his new blood tests and monitoring his progress. When Joseph returned to Moscow again for his next round of stem cell therapy, his cholesterol dropped as well — something Joseph didn’t think was possible.

The treatment had some other surprising effects. Right before he left for another treatment at Swiss Medica, Joseph got into a bad motorcycle accident. “I had road rash up and down both of my arms and my skin was ripped off,” he said. “I got to Moscow on a Saturday, and the doctors were like ‘don’t worry, the stem cell therapy will heal it in a week.’ Six days later, it was ninety percent healed.”

Motorcycle accidents aside, Joseph went from being extremely sick to no longer having to take his medications for diabetes and high blood pressure. He went from being on the brink of kidney failure to postponing his dialysis for another year.

After three months after his treatment, Joseph had high energy levels, no longer fell asleep 5-6 times per day, and completely eliminated his high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. His creatine levels went from being nine times higher than normal to only 5-6 times higher, and they’re still dropping steadily.

Joseph had gone from the brink of kidney failure and suffering from a host of ailments to regaining his energy and watching his chronic conditions heal miraculously in the span of barely any time at all.

While new treatments come with new risks, Joseph’s story shows that those risks can pay off.