GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. KKCO/KJCT)-- A Grand Junction resident is desperately trying to fund stem cell therapy treatment.
"They said it works and I want to try it. But it's expensive,” said David Moncy, United States Navy veteran.
David has COPD, a life-threatening condition that makes it harder to breathe. The only way he can afford the experimental treatment is for the VA Western Colorado Health Care System to approve his cause.
"I just want to be able to walk around, I have to use this cart and just walking 30-40 feet and then a few minutes later it starts catching up on me,” said Moncy.
He also has a knee injury from back when he was in the United States Navy.
"The VA has been nothing but good to me, they have helped me out 100 percent,” said Moncy.
He says he was offered a lung transplant by the VA, but after complications with a previous surgery, he doesn't think he would make it through. So, he turned to looking into stem cell therapy.
"This way if I try this it’s non-threatening, there is no cutting into me, or nothing, I at least want to try it and see if it works,” said Moncy.
"Approximately 80 percent of patients see significant improvement,” said Dr. Scott Faulkner, owner & MD, Internal Medicine for Stem Cell Centers of Colorado.
Stem cells are taken from either your own body or from infant umbilical cords. The cells are injected into the body and target inflamed areas.
"The beautiful thing about umbilical cord stem cell therapy is it has the ability to live in your system 6 to 8 months so it’s repairing tissue that entire time,” said Dr. Faulkner.
David applied for stem cell treatment at the Grand Junction VA hospital weeks ago. Talking with specialists and pulmonologists.
"Then I got this letter, registered letter from the VA, telling me they are not going to do it because it’s not FDA approved,” said Moncy.
The VA said in a statement to KKCO "The VA Western Colorado Health Care System expresses sympathy and understanding for patients seeking care outside of established standards of care. Law prohibits us from discussing individual cases. At present, stem cell therapy is considered an experimental treatment for patients with COPD."
"There has never been an adverse effect in all of the thousands of patients who have ever had umbilical cord stem cells,” said Dr. Faulkner.
However, David still wants to try the stem cells, he says it’s significantly cheaper than a lung transplant.
According to Milliman, the world's largest providers of actuarial and related products and services they say a single lung transplant costs an average of $861,700 and a double lung transplant costs $1,190,700.
Dr. Faulkner says his stem cell treatments start around $4,500 for knee injections.
"You know I would like to be able to walk around but I can’t you know even to go down the hall and back is an effort,” said Moncy.
According to the Stem Cell Center for Colorado, this treatment can help over 60 different diseases including arthritis, Lou Gehrig's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease.
Currently, Dr. Faulkner is working with Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton to try and get stem cell therapy funded for veterans at approved centers in our state. For more information about the Stem Cell Center for Colorado call (866) 296-7836.
To help David check out his Go Fund Me page, a link is to the right of this article.