Dr. Murray Howe and his hockey great father, Gordie Howe, on a fishing trip in Saskatchewan in 2013.

Murray Howe and his hockey great father, Gordie Howe, on a fishing trip in Saskatchewan in 2013. — Courtesy Murray Howe


December 30, 2014

I wholeheartedly agree with critics who say that more research is needed on stem cells. Based on what I’ve seen, I would say we should intensify our research efforts because this technology is poised to transform medicine as we know it. But Mr. Hockey did not have the luxury of waiting for 6 months for a U.S. stroke trial, or even 30 days for a Compassionate IND treatment in the United States. I applaud the U.S. FDA for its cautious, methodical approach. For the population at large this is the prudent approach. For Mr. Hockey though, we just couldn’t wait. What would you do for your father in such a situation?

Concerns were raised regarding the technical nature of our family press release. I drafted the release, and thus I wanted to assure its accuracy and informative nature. I included a website address for Novastem because I wanted the world to know how grateful we were for their care. I believe they have the potential to help many people suffering from stroke, dementia , traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and more. I believe time will back-up my assertion. I also ran my draft by Stemedica and Novastem to assure its accuracy and as a courtesy to them, as I would do for anyone. But the words are mine. Period.

Did Novastem treat our father for free? You betcha. They were thrilled and honored to treat a legend. Would you charge Gordie Howe for treating him? None of his doctors ever do. I certainly am not going to criticize them for being generous.

I find it fascinating that anyone would criticize Novastem for charging, or for not charging, for their services. They appear to have developed techniques and protocols which are safe and hold promise for countless individuals. My hat is off to them for the quality service they offer.

Some have criticized the fact that our father was treated in Mexico. Our choices were Russia or Mexico because my father could not receive the intrathecal (intraspinal) injection in the U.S. yet. However, the intrathecal route appears to be more effective than IV route only for my dads condition, which includes dementia, stroke, and traumatic brain injury. This was my conclusion based on the information at hand. More research will be needed to confirm this, certainly.

I don’t claim to be a stem cell expert. But, I am certainly an expert in my dad’s medical condition. And I am fortunate enough to have experienced first hand dragging my father’s dead weight onto an airplane and requiring all of my huge brother Marty’s strength to transfer Mr Hockey from chair to chair. And both my brother and I witnessed him walking in less than 24 hours with assistance, and 5 days later being able to sweep, rake, and do dishes completely under his own power.

I watched as he rattled off the names of objects as the speech therapist tested him after the treatment. The therapist’s words were: “This is amazing!” His astonishing recovery was witnessed by a physiatrist M.D., a nurse, and the objective measurements of a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and a speech therapist. In addition, my brothers, sister, and I witnessed it with our own eyes. I’ve got the videos to prove it as well. But if you cannot accept the reports from that many witnesses, you might not believe the video footage. I understand.


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