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Health & Hospitals

Nov. 30 - Revolutionary Stem Cell Study in Savannah Aims to Cure Back Pain Without Surgery

Category: Health & Hospitals

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

November 30, 2017 - The Neurological & Spine Institute in Savannah recently announced its own Dr. Randolph Bishop is participating in a national study aimed at ending low back pain stemming from spinal disc degeneration, without using surgery. Dr. Bishop is currently one of nine neurosurgeons in the country conducting this clinical trial and the only one in Georgia.

The VAST Trial, or Viable Allograft Supplemented Disc Regeneration in the Treatment of Patients with Low Back Pain with or without Intervertebral Disc Herniation, evaluates the efficacy of using a novel type of stem cell product in the treatment of degenerative spinal disc disease. This study analyzes whether bone marrow-derived cells can be used to minimize or end back pain symptoms, and delay or stop future degeneration. The trial was just approved by the FDA.

Low back pain is one of the most common health problems for adults under the age of 50. It’s estimated that almost 80% of people suffer from lower back pain at least once in their lifetime, and that degenerative changes of the lumbar segments are often the reason for that chronic back pain and for neurological complications. Information gathered from the VAST study will offer solutions to improve this problem.

“Our goal for every patient, here at the Institute, is to treat their suffering with non-invasive methods as much as possible,” said Dr. Bishop. “I hope what we learn through the VAST Trial will change the landscape as to how disc-related back pain is treated, giving patients more non-surgical options.”

Patients go through four phases of the VAST Trial, lasting one year, in which they are injected with the bone marrow stem cells provided by the Miami Tissue Bank. Dr. Bishop says, so far, the VAST Trial is seeing a 98% success rate and patients are experiencing no side effects.

Neurological & Spine Institute is one of the largest neurosurgical groups in the Southeast. Since opening its doors, its highly skilled neurosurgeons have been providing expert comprehensive care for a full range of athletic, degenerative, and traumatic disorders in the areas of: head, vascular, trauma, pain, spine and pediatrics.

In addition to its main location in Savannah, Neurological & Spine Institute also has satellite offices in Springfield, Statesboro, Jesup, Vidalia, and Bluffton, SC, near Hilton Head Island. Each physician, nurse and support staff member works together, creating the ideal patient environment; systems and records are closely linked to allow patients to move easily throughout all locations.

For more information on the VAST study, please contact Tiffany Kingsley, Executive Assistant to Practice Administrator, at 912-721-0180. To schedule an appointment, please contact their office at 912-355-1010 or visit

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