Stem Cell treatment improves the quality of life in patients with Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory, autoimmune, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that destroys myelin, oligodendrocytes, and axons (14). Between 250,000 - 350,000 people in the United States alone suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. The name relates to the multiple hardened (sclerotic) lesions and scars in the brain and spinal cord. Initial symptoms may include extreme fatigue, vertigo, optic neuritis, and numbness in the extremities. Most patients experience relapsing-remitting episodes that over time can lead to progressive neurological deterioration.
Current therapies for MS are designed to delay disease progression by immuno-modulation or immunosuppression. Until recently, the slowing accumulating neurological damage has remained mostly irreversible. Today, there is increased optimism about slowing and perhaps reversing the disease with a comprehensive program that includes stem cell therapies along with therapies that improve blood circulation, myelin regeneration, mitochondrial energy production and dietary, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant factors.
Several factors can increase the maturation of oligodendrocytes, including thyroid hormone, platelet derived growth factor-A, CD45, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin-3. Fyn tyrosine kinase is an additional factor that can increase the production of myelin base protein production for remyelination of axons. This fyn gene is reported to be diminished in aging rats.
Mouse models of multiple sclerosis showed a significant reduction in axonal lesions in multiple locations (multifocal) with the infusion of adult neural stem cells. The use of hematopoietic stem cells from healthy donors may also help repopulate the immune system with the cell genetics for less autoimmune reactions.
Several patients who have gone to Mexico for stem cell therapies for MS have reported that the stem cells help stabilize their symptoms for several months. Because MS is often progressive, additional treatment were needed at six month intervals to maintain the improvements made. We are now looking at genetic testing for patients to determine if they are deficient for the fyn gene and if so, whether umbilical cord stem cells transfected with the fyn gene will help extend the benefits of cord stem cell therapy. Stem cells transfected with the fyn gene have worked well in animal models of MS and seem to be working in a couple of rapidly progressing MS patients treated in Mexico. In those with normal levels of the gene, there is also the option of giving neurotrophin-3 with the cord stem cells as well as increasing CD45 markers with the use of mesenchymal stem cells. There are a number of combinations that can be tried and compared, depending on the individual's deficiencies. These various possibilities should give greater hope to those who suffer from MS. Click here to see the research on Stem Cells and Multiple Sclerosis.
This information is presented for educational purposes only.