Keith Kaplan is 51 years old, married to his college sweetheart, Karen, and has 3 boys ages 19, 14 and 12. Five years ago, Keith was a seemingly healthy person who enjoyed tennis, golf, playing football and basketball with his kids, traveling, and an active lifestyle. At a school social function in fall 2011, he experienced loss of feeling in his legs for a few seconds. It was a quick but scary episode and, not surprisingly, it prompted some doctor appointments. In early 2012, Keith was diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS (“PPMS”). PPMS is the most uncommon and difficult MS diagnosis since it does not have periods of inactivity or remission like Relapsing Remitting MS – it relentlessly progresses – and there is no FDA approved treatment for the disease. Words cannot express how frustrating and disheartening it was to be told by several nationally recognized neurologists on the East Coast that there was no treatment and nothing we could do but “hope that the progression is slow”.
Keith has been fortunate enough to be treated by Dr. Saud Sadiq, who founded the Tisch MS Research Center and leads the affiliated clinical practice. From the first appointment, Dr. Sadiq discussed the possibility of using a patient’s own stem cells to regenerate and repair nerve cells to not only stop the progression of the disease but also potentially repair damage. In 2013, Phase I of the clinical trial was approved to proceed by the FDA and the treatment portion of Phase I successfully concluded in September 2016 – establishing safety. The clinical protocol for Phase II was approved by the FDA in August 2016 and it is the first “repair” therapy to reach this stage in the United States.
Keith currently walks with a cane and uses a scooter for longer walks, travel, and some business functions. Every day is more difficult than the one before but he refuses to give up work, travel, and most of all hope. Please help us raise awareness of MS and raise funds to support the research and stem cell trial conducted by the Tisch MS Research Center in New York.