Can Stem Cell Therapy help patients with Multiple Sclerosis?
Today, new treatments and advances in research are giving new hope to people affected by Multiple Sclerosis. StemGenex Medical Group provides stem cell therapy for Multiple Sclerosis to help those with unmet clinical needs achieve optimum health and better quality of life. A clinical study registered through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at www.clinicaltrials.gov/stemgenex has been established to evaluate the quality of life changes in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis following stem cell therapy.
Stem cell therapy for Multiple Sclerosis is being studied for efficacy in improving the complications in patients with MS, through the use of their own stem cells. These procedures may help patients who don’t respond to typical drug treatment, want to reduce their reliance on medication, or are looking to try stem cell therapy before starting drug treatment.
To learn more about becoming a patient and receiving stem cell therapy through StemGenex Medical Group, please contact one of our Patient Advocates at (800) 609-7795. Below are some frequently asked questions about stem cell therapy for Multiple Sclerosis.
Frequently Asked Questions for Multiple Sclerosis Stem Cell Therapy
- How do stem cells work in patients with Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is widely believed to be an autoimmune condition – the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks, and subsequently damages, the ‘myelin sheath’ protecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This damage causes messages to and from the brain to be slowed, distorted or stopped altogether. This is what leads to the symptoms of MS.
Damage to the myelin sheath is believed to cause ‘relapses’, or MS attacks. In these attacks, symptoms flare up and last for anything from 24 hours to several months. Over time, if nerve fibers themselves become damaged, or destroyed completely, this can lead to ‘progression’ of the MS and an increase in disability.
This stem cell treatment is designed to target the myelin sheath by introducing adult mesenchymal stem cells past the blood brain barrier so they may differentiate into and repair the myelin sheath nerve cells. This process is called remyelination. Further, being that Multiple Sclerosis is an auto-immune condition, adipose derived mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to repair the immune system; keeping it from attacking itself. This process is referred to as immunomodulation. Through remyelination and immunomodulation, we hope to work toward improving the quality of lives of patients dealing with Multiple Sclerosis.
- What are some of the most common Multiple Sclerosis complications?
People suffering from Multiple Sclerosis often suffer from the following complications:
- Problems with balance and walking
- Changes in vision
- Emotional changes
- Impaired thinking
- Impaired understanding
- Poor muscle coordination
- Sexual problems
- Slurred speech
- Bladder and bowel problems
- What are stem cells?
Stem cells are unprogrammed cells in the human body that can be described as "shape shifters." These cells have the ability to change or “differentiate” into other types of cells. Stem cells are at the center of a new field of science called regenerative medicine. Because stem cells can become neurons, bone, muscle, cartilage and other specialized types of cells, they have the potential to treat many diseases, including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Diabetes and more.
- What is stem cell therapy and how does it work?
Stem cell therapy is an intervention strategy that introduces new adult stem cells into damaged tissue in order to treat disease or injury. Many medical researchers believe that stem cell treatments have the potential to change the face of human disease and alleviate suffering. The ability of stem cells to self-renew and give rise to subsequent generations with variable degrees of differentiation capacities, offers significant potential for generation of tissues that can potentially replace diseases and damaged areas in the body, with minimal risk of rejection and side effects.
- What are the different types of stem cells?
StemGenex offers stem cell therapy using Adult stem cells only. There are four known types of stem cells:
- Adult Stem Cells - derived from the adult human body
The use of adult stem cells in research and therapy is not as controversial as the use of embryonic stem cells, because the production of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of an embryo. Additionally, in instances where adult stem cells are obtained from the intended recipient, the risk of rejection is essentially non-existent. Consequently, more US government funding is being provided for adult stem cell research. This is why StemGenex offers stem cell studies using Adult stem cells only.
- Embryonic Stem Cells - derived from embryos
These cells require specific signals to differentiate to the desired cell type. If they are simply injected directly, they will differentiate into many different types of cells, resulting in a tumor derived from this abnormal pluripotent cell development (a teratoma). The directed differentiation of ES cells and avoidance of transplant rejection are just two of the hurdles that ES cell researchers still face. StemGenex does not use embryonic stem cells.
- Fetal Stem Cells - derived from aborted fetuses
Have developed further than embryonic stem cells and are a little more specialized – their options are slightly more limited. However, they can still produce most types of cell in the body. StemGenex does not use fetal stem cells.
- Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) - from some parts of the human body
These stem cells are engineered from older, fully specialized cells – for example, skin cells, which are limited naturally to being only skin cells. Scientists encourage these limited cells to act like embryonic stem cells again, with the ability to become any type of human cell. This is a complex technique that has only recently been developed and is the subject of much ongoing research. StemGenex does not use induced pluripotent stem cells.
- Adult Stem Cells - derived from the adult human body
- What are main types of MS?
- Relapsing remitting MS (RRMS):
Periods of acute attacks with worsening of symptoms followed by complete or partial recovery (remission)
Around 85 per cent of people with MS are diagnosed with RRMS.
- Secondary progressive MS (SPMS):
Following an initial period of relapsing remitting MS, many people develop secondary progressive MS. This is characterised by a gradual accumulation of disability, either with or without relapses (relapsing SPMS or non-relapsing SPMS).
- Primary progressive MS (PPMS):
A gradual accumulation of disability from the beginning, with no distinct periods of relapse and remission.
Around 10-15 per cent of people diagnosed have this form of MS.
- Progressive-Relapsing MS:
In this relatively rare course of MS (5%), people experience steadily worsening disease from the beginning, but with clear attacks of worsening neurologic function along the way. They may or may not experience some recovery following these relapses, but the disease continues to progress without remissions.
- Relapsing remitting MS (RRMS):
- Why use adipose (fat) derived stem cells?
- Adipose (fat) tissue contains a concentrated amount of cells known as mesenchymal stem cells which are capable of replication or becoming different types of cells throughout the body such as neurons, bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon, etc…
- The advantage of using mesenchymal stem cells from your adipose fat is that they are one of the richest sources of stem cells in the body (2500 times more stem cells reside in fat vs. bone marrow) and they are very easy to harvest via a mini-liposuction procedure.
- Adipose derived stem cells also have a much higher immunomodulatory capacity than those of bone marrow derived stem cells which can greatly benefit patients with auto-immune conditions.
- Adipose derived stem cell treatments are autologous meaning they are derived from the patient’s own body. Numerous studies have been done showing the safety and efficacy of autologous stem cell therapy throughout the years.
- Why does StemGenex offer registered clinical studies through The National Institutes of Health?
As is the case with most degenerative conditions, there are few available drugs to treat these diseases. The handful of drugs that are available can only ameliorate symptoms and unfortunately, prolonged usage can create terrible side-effects. Further, these drugs do not halt disease progression or aid in the repair of established damage.
Our goal is to provide regenerative medicine applications that address these critical issues. The registered clinical studies we are conducting are designed to provide us with a large amount of rigorously collected data so that we can better understand the clinical benefit of patients treated with stem cells.
- What technology and specialists does StemGenex offer to make my stem cell treatment more effective?
- Board Certified U.S. Doctors
- Treatment in accredited surgical centers
- Lab processing protocols developed and refined by our PhD neuroscientist
- Multiple Activation Methods to ensure all patients receive therapeutic dosages of their stem cells
- The latest targeted administration methods to deliver stem cells to areas where stem cells are needed most such as the brain, bladder or spine
- How are the stem cells administered back into Multiple Sclerosis patients through StemGenex?
StemGenex is now offering potential ways to directly target the conditions and disease related complications. These treatments consist of multiple ways to deliver the highest amount of activated stem cells to the areas patients need them most. When MS patients are treated through StemGenex, there are multiple ways they can be administered:
- Full body IV – directed into the vein
- Intra Nasal – administration to access a highly vascular pathway of the nose to encourage more stem cells to travel past the blood brain barrier
- Direct site injections – injected directly into the site that needs repair, i.e., muscles and tendons
- Bladder catheterization – for patients suffering from incontinence, the stem cells are catheterized directly into the bladder.
- What can I expect after my Multiple Sclerosis stem cell therapy through StemGenex?
After the procedure there will be minimal discomfort in the abdominal area with soreness and bruising lasting anywhere from 1 week to 2 weeks. We recommend patients relax and receive as much rest as possible to give their stem cells a chance to heal.
- How long would it take to see improvement?
This is one of the most common and important questions a patient can ask. Keep in mind that every patient who receives any type of medical procedure will react differently to their treatment. Patients who have received stem cell therapy through StemGenex generally see the full culmination or their results from almost immediately to a few months later. Some patients have taken up to 6 months before seeing the full effect of the treatment.
- How long does the stem cell treatment through StemGenex take?
A patient’s visit for stem cell treatment last for only 3 days. The first day will be a new patient orientation followed by a pre-op consultation with the treating physician. The very next morning the patients will begin their stem cell treatment which will last roughly 4-5 hours in length. They will then return back to the center on the third day for a post-op consultation before returning home. This is a minimally invasive 1-day procedure so patients are back in their hotel room each night with their families.
- Will I need to return regularly for follow-ups?
Patients will only need to visit StemGenex once for their treatment. Again, this visit only lasts for 3 days. Once their treatment has completed, patients will return home where the StemGenex staff will follow-up with them for our studies on a regular basis. Because the visit lasts only 3 days, patients travel to StemGenex from all over the world to receive the highest level of stem cell therapy available. Patients do not need to return regularly for follow-ups.
- What type of complications has StemGenex observed in patients?
As the first stem cell center of excellence, StemGenex has provided access to stem cell therapy for over 1,000 patients. Minimal bruising and soreness are the only complications we have observed due to the mini-liposuction procedure. Normally this will last anywhere from 1-2 weeks.
- Can this type of stem cell treatment cause cancer?
Adult Mesenchymal stem cells, like the ones used through StemGenex, are not known to cause cancer. There have been reported cases of cancerous tumors known as teratomas forming when using embryonic cells. Again, StemGenex only provides access to stem cell treatment using adult mesenchymal stem cells, not embryonic.
- Am I a candidate for stem cell therapy through StemGenex?
StemGenex follows a strict protocol to determine whether each and every patient is a good candidate or not stem cell therapy. Every patient will undergo a full medical history evaluation to determine their candidacy before being approved for treatment. Providing access to safe and effective stem cell therapy is our absolute goal therefore candidacy is determined by keeping these two criteria in mind.
- How much does stem cell treatment through StemGenex cost?
The cost of each treatment depends on each individual case. In order to learn more regarding the cost for treatment, please contact one of our patient advocates who are available throughout the day. You can reach them by calling (800) 609-7795.
- Could a stem cell therapy be repeated?
Yes, a stem cell therapy may be repeated. Current studies indicate the strong possibility of a cumulative effect from multiple stem cell therapies a patient received for their condition. Long-term studies will attempt to better understand this in detail.
- Could a stem cell therapy be used at the same time as other therapies?
We don’t know yet. This will not be studied in early clinical trials, as this would make it very difficult to measure the true effects of the stem cell therapy. However, a combination therapy may be effective for Multiple Sclerosis and is likely to be studied in the future.