Corporal Isaias Hernandez had his right leg mangled in 2004 in Iraq. He lost 70% of his thigh muscle. “The whole thing was gone,” Hernandez explained. “You could see the femur.”
Hernandez was one of the first to try a radical therapy to spark his body to regrow the lost tissue and function. Using what’s called extracellular matrix from a pig, his body recruited its own stem cells to regrow muscle, nerves and vessels.
“A few days after the surgery, there was some twitching, some spasming, some tingling that wasn’t there before,” he said. “And then in a few weeks, I started seeing better results in physical therapy.”
Regenerative medicine pioneer Dr. Stephen Badylak explained the biologic implant as the glue that holds the cells together, a scaffolding with a plan.
The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center in San Antonio announced it is getting into the regenerative medicine business, providing donated cells and tissue to researchers all over the globe. The venture is called GenCure.
“GenCure’s mission is to provide state-of-the-art cells and tissues for regenerative medicine applications in clinical practice as well as in clinical trials and research,” said Mary Beth Fisk, interim president and CEO of South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.
Hernandez’s goal is to get back to active duty and re-deploy.