By Peggy Freeman
“Amazing!” “Pixie dust!” I hear those buzz words on “Oprah,” “The Today Show,” and even the “Discovery Channel” about Extracellular Matrix, a new innovative product that brings answers for patients who haven’t found healing for long-term wounds, soldiers or young people who have lost body parts and those who have lost hope. I turned off the TV, sure this cutting-edge product could only be found in one of the medical Meccas of the world. However I found the healing heroes I watched on TV just up the road in Glen Rose. Come along with me as I take you to the edge of medical miracles. The first stop is Glen Rose Medical Center.
The newly renovated Glen Rose Medical Center’s community-based medicine provides excellent healthcare close to home…from day-to-day primary care to intensive rehabilitation or immediate emergency intervention. Recently the Glen Rose Medical Center Staff and one of their top surgeons, Dr. Hernan Patino, M.D., performed one of these amazing procedures, healing a wound that had not responded to traditional healing.
The patient faced partial amputation on his foot. Dr. Patino, who completed his residency in New York City and finished his Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery Fellowship at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, always looks for the most minimally invasive surgeries.
Then Tres Riley, the Vice President of ACell, Inc. and Johnny Riddle, Sales Representative for this fast-growing company, came on board with an Extracellular Matrix called, ACell.
I talked with Johnny Riddle a few weeks after the surgery. “Dr. Patino’s patient is in the process of healing now, and it looks very positive.” Johnny explained. “It’s a great feeling to help people in this area get back to an active-life in this ranching community.
Tres Riley echoed these feelings. “Healing wounds (that) nothing else has healed is exciting for all of us at ACell.” Tres, his wife and family are neighbors from down the road a ways. They moved to Glen Rose over a year ago. “We’re especially elated when we get to help one of our neighbors or wounded U.S. soldiers coming home from battle. But it goes beyond wounds. We see a heart damaged or burn victims and we know the healing ACell can bring. Before ACell, many injuries, like burns, have been difficult to heal because the body creates scars to prevent infection.”
Tres Riley explained how this new product works in such a way that even a non-medical person can understand. “ACell practically eliminates both scaring and infection, allowing the body to heal itself, regenerating tissue and bones. And ACell is like no other product on the market today.”
Now I’m beginning to believe this quick, less expensive product may not be “magic dust.” That it is based on science. But why would the Vice President of Sales for this major company in Columbia, Maryland live in Glen Rose, Texas?”
I traveled down a winding country road and forded a couple of rivers to reach Tres and Virginia Riley’s ranch, ready to ask the question. Why Glen Rose? When I got out of the car, looked around at the view that seems to reach into forever, the words “healing and regeneration” whistled though the giant trees. Virginia and the kids splashed in the pool and Tres relaxed at the rustic trestle-table in front of windows overlooking the patio. I tried to keep my mind on the interview instead of the antique glass and metal stove with a black stovepipe that reaches to the 20-foot wood-planked ceiling. Tres told me a little about the home and how lucky they felt to find it.
“I had worked in sales for fifteen years,” he began, telling me the story of their new life. “About a year ago I went with Acell. We healed this lady who had a wound for thirteen years! No one could heal her. This amazed me. In short, ACell replaces “like” for “like” tissue. A man with his nose completely gone because of cancer now has his nose back, nostrils and all. A finger cut off regenerates with the original finger print. We place a basement membrane in and soon cells are rushing to this location. Once the body does what it can with one application, we add more and it continues to regenerate. The toddler whose toes were cut off by a lawnmower has new toes forming. His plastic surgeon goes in to complete the transformation and the child has his foot back. ”
With this Tres vanquished all my
visions of magic. He gave a simple explanation of how the product works—simple to the point of amazement.
“We use pig bladders because they are plentiful and cheap. The bladder is skinned down to a thin layer like plastic wrap. Then we remove the cells until it’s to the lowest foundation. Now that extracellular matrix is generic. For a doctor I would say, ‘This is the basement membrane of a urinary bladder of a pig, urinary-bladder matrix, site-specific constructive remodeling.’ There are other materials doctors can use but on that product the cells come to the site and they don’t know their job. They run around trying to figure-out what to do. With ACell there’s a basement foundation and when the patient’s cells are attracted to that foundation, they know exactly what to do. The body heals itself—bone regenerates bone, tissue regenerates tissue and cartilage regenerates cartilage. It heals back whatever it’s attached to. We just helped a doctor apply the product to a soldier whose leg-muscles were blown away in Iraq. He’s healing and new tissue forms. One lady who worked making tortillas burned her hand so badly she faced amputation. We provided the product to her doctor. We said, ‘Here, try this.’ The doctor tried it and now this woman has her hand with little scar tissue. She can use all her fingers. Doctors with patients that have had no hope may come to ACell as a last resort. Once they see how it allows the body to heal, they are sold and begin using it on everything from reconstruction surgery to wound care and more.”
As Tres talks, I’m beginning to understand why he lives in Glen Rose. He travels all over the country healing the nation one wound at a time. However even an ACell super hero wears down. That’s when Tres heads home to his family and their beautiful ranch—a place to regenerate his soul.
“Here, on the ranch in Glen Rose,” he explained, “I sit out on the patio with my family and we can see every star in the sky. The peace restores me. Virginia, and I both grew up in Fort Worth, but this country has given us a place to enjoy life.”
Virginia, who looks too young to be the mother of their three children, 3, 6, and 22, wore a trendy cotton dress and a western hat with matching trim. I knew she would be as much at home in a city art gallery as she was in the chicken-yard holding the kids pet hen and rooster. She echoed Tres’ comments.
“I love Glen Rose and wouldn’t go back to the city if you paid me. The kids were in private school in Fort Worth; now they thrive in an excellent public school. We have cattle and a few exotic animals and of course the chickens—my daughter’s favorite. We love having time and a place to take art lessons, riding lessons, shopping and always something new to see. We’re minutes from Fossil Rim which is one of our favorite things to do.”
The Riley’s seem to have found the gold at the end of the rainbow—the golden knowledge of what really brings happiness. Being the Vice President of a company with phenomenal potential has to be exciting. Having the opportunity to watch your kids grow and be part of healing is truly golden. Tres talked of the travel.
“My work’s not work. It’s my life-style. I don’t fight the competition. There’s not a product like ACell. Doctors come out of the OR, shaking our hand and giving us high-fives. I wake-up every morning, excited to see who I can help today. The future is wide open for ACell. Our research is focused on filling the gaps—a paradigm, break-through technology, with dedicated scientists bringing healing to areas where there is no help.”
I said good-bye to my new friends, the Rileys, and headed home to Pecan Plantation. Later that evening when I got on Facebook, I thought of people who didn’t know about this break-through technology, people still suffering, facing amputation or worse. Then Johnny Riddle introduced me to Dakota’s Mom. This is her post to me:
My son, Dakota, was born with Down syndrome. For most of his life, over thirty surgeries and almost all related to his ears, he has heard very little. Two years ago he had a bone-anchored hearing-aid implanted into his skull to bypass the normal workings of the ear. An infection kept him from using the device for almost two years. The tissue around the implant disintegrated. We couldn’t risk a skin graft due to infection and the hole was extremely deep. The surgeon contacted ACell. It was unbelievable…new tissue began to fill the empty space. Within a very short time my son’s own tissue reproduced and soon after, skin formed. A few weeks after that, the processor was attached to the implant and my son could hear for the first time. He walked outside, looked at me and smiled. “I can hear the birds sing!” he said. The twinkle in his eyes made me cry. He quickly began to talk in full sentences. Before Dakota could hear and speak so clearly, I knew he was smart and a very sweet, kind person. Now, everyone else knows too.
You can see videos and documentation about this amazing new product at www.acell.com. Ask your doctor to call the ACell office. Or “friend” them on Facebook.