What do we know about stem cell therapies for neurological disorders?
Neurological diseases are the diseases of the nervous system which involve the brain, spine, and nerves.
To begin with it is important to understand what stem cells we are talking about and what we're trying to achieve by using them disease conditions. For example in the world of haematology, stem cells transplants have been around for years as they can be used very effectively to replenish the bone marrow of patients who have been treated for a range of cancerous blood disorders. In this case, the idea is simple - you remove all the cells, including the malfunctioning and cancerous ones, and then rebuild the system using new unaffected stem cells. In the case of disorders of the brain this is one approach that is commonly adopted in research towards treatments:to use stem cells to replacethe neural (brain) cells that are already lost as part of disease process, such as the midbrain dopamine cells in PD.
How else might stem cells be used in neurological disorders?
Of course stem cells do not only have to be used to make replacement neurons for transplantation. They could be used in other ways, in particular as a supporter of diseased cells and a controlling or adjusting influence within the patient's central nervous system. Indeed many cite this as a reason why some types of stem cells (e.g.mesenchymal stem cells) may be uniquely helpful in disease. For example, in multiple sclerosis such stem cells transplants may be of value not only in producing substances that support the survival or recovery of damaged neurons, but through reducing inflammation. This may prove a valuable approach irrespective of any ability of such stem cells to turn into replacement neural cells.
As such, much work has been done with stem cells of this type in the laboratory but at the present time it remains unproven that they work in any neurological condition.This is not to say that good quality research is not taking place in this area. Indeed, a number of properly funded, well formulated studies have been done in small numbers of patients to show that this approach is feasible and well tolerated.
This disease is characterized by the formation of abnormal lesions around neuron in the brain along with the clumps of protein fragments, cellular material and insoluble fibers.
Neurological disorders that can be helped through stem cell research?
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time..
Parkinson's involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Parkinson's primarily affects neurons in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. As PD progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally.
This stem cell treatment is designed to target these neurons and to help with the creation of new dopamine producing neurons. In addition, stem cells may release natural chemicals called cytokines which can induce differentiation of the stem cells into dopamine producing neurons.
Huntington's Disease (HD) mainly affects nerve cells in the brain called medium spiny neurons (MSNs). MSNs receive and coordinate information from other neurons in the brain to control movement of the body, face and eyes.
In Huntington's Disease large numbers of MSNs are damaged and destroyed. Some other types of neurons in the brain also appear to be affected, such as cortical neurons. Patients usually first notice symptoms when they are around 35-50 years old, typically weak spasmodic movements of the muscles in the face and limbs. As the disease progresses, these spasmodic movements become more evident and frequent and other symptoms appear. Patients are affected in different ways, but symptoms may include difficulty speaking and swallowing, dementia or trouble concentrating.
Stem cells could be introduced into the brain with the hope that they would replace dead and dysfunctional cells - either as a primary treatment or to restore brain cells lost in Huntington's disease following treatment(s) to halt disease progression.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable progressive neuromuscular disease. It also goes by the name of Lou Gehrig's disease in North America and motor neurone disease in Australia and the United Kingdom.
ALS attacks motor neurons, the specialized nerve cells that transmit electrical signals from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. In addition, the disease affects support cells in the brain creating a toxic environment for motor neurons.
Stem cells have an unparalleled regenerative capacity and the flexibility to grow into hundreds of different types of cells, and also make factors that can protect cells. The ideal approach would take advantage of these characteristics to replenish the stores of motor neurons as well as other needed cell populations to protect motor neurons and to restore the microenvironment in the brain and spinal cord.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. The first signs of Alzheimer's often include lapses in memory or struggling to find the right words. Over time, symptoms such as confusion, mood swings or memory loss develop and become increasingly severe.
The cause of the disease is still unclear, but researchers have found that people affected by Alzheimer's have an abnormal build-up of certain proteins in the brain. One of these proteins, called amyloid beta, clumps together to form 'plaques'.
Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) isolated from adipose tissue, are well known for their pluripotency and their ability to differentiate into multiple tissue types and have immune modulatory properties similar to those of MSCs from other origins.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. In the healthy body, these nerve cells carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body, allowing us to move, balance, see, hear and feel. In MS, the body's own immune system attacks the nerve cells so that they cannot function properly.
Each nerve cell is wrapped in a protective sheath called myelin. If the myelin is damaged, the cell can no longer carry messages properly. This is what happens in MS. Depending on which nerves are damaged, patients may suffer from a range of symptoms, commonly involving problems with walking and sensation, bladder and bowel issues and fatigue.
Stem cells are part of the body's normal repair system – making new cells to replace those that get damaged or die. Stem cells from bone marrow are being investigated as possible treatments for Multiple Sclerosis.
A stroke happens when the blood supply to one or more parts of the brain is reduced or completely blocked. The blockage may be temporary or permanent and it can be caused in two different ways:
In ischaemic stroke a blood clot obstructs the supply of blood to the brain
In hemorrhagic stroke a blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain
All parts of the brain need to have a good blood supply to work properly. When the flow of blood is restricted or stopped, vital nutrients and oxygen cannot reach the cells in the brain and they are damaged or die. The effects on the body depend on which part of the brain is damaged and how long the blockage remains. A stroke can affect movement, speech, thought processes and memory. It can cause paralysis in one or more parts of the body, or loss of control of bodily functions.
We Developed Stem Cell Therapy program to treat a variety of conditions, including stoke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and traumatic brain injury, etc. During stem cell treatment, a patient receives 200 – 300 million stem cells. This quantity of the restored plain cells not only covers daily losses, but also exceeds them by thousands of times, renewing almost 15 – 20 years worth.
The spinal cord is the delicate tissue encased in and protected by the hard vertebrae of the spinal column. Together the brain and spinal cord form the body's central nervous system. The spinal cord is made up of millions of nerve cells that carry signals to and from the brain and out into other parts of the body. The information that allows us to sit, run, go to the toilet and breathe travels along the spinal cord.
Stem cells from fat, cord blood, bone marrow are being investigated as possible treatments for Spinal Cord Injury.
A mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.
Autism is a neuro developmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior.
Stem cell therapy is an effective approach to treating autism which is based on the unique ability of stem cells to influence metabolism, immune system and restore damaged cells and tissues. Treatment positively affects all body organs and systems, including the main part – the brain.
When autism is diagnosed, areas of brain regulating memory, concentration, attention, speech are damaged. Stem cell treatment improves blood and oxygen flow to the brain (improved perfusion), replaces damaged neurons and stimulates formation of the new arteries. After some time, stem cells acquire properties of cells surrounding them and multiply into these cells, which results in white and gray matter restoration and, consequently, in subsidence of neurologic symptoms and improved intellectual capacity.
It has been proven that mesenchymal stem cells improve immune system and terminate inflammation
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disease caused by brain damage, usually formed in early childhood and is characterized by motor impairment, paralysis, muscle weakness, loss of coordination and involuntary movements.
About 1-3 children in a thousand are born with cerebral palsy and those born with a very low birth weight and preterm infants are at a higher risk. Signs and symptoms usually appear within the first year of a child's life and make it hard for this patient to control the body. This can happen if one of the three main areas of the brain, that controls muscle activity, is damaged. Therefore, there are three main types of cerebral palsy.
Spastic occurs in 70-80% of the cases. The main symptoms include increase of muscle tone (when the muscles are in a state of stress), tightness (spastic) and movement becomes difficult or impossible.
Therapy with mesenchymal stem cells opens entirely new possibilities in the treatment of cerebral palsy. Stem cells for cerebral palsy treatment have the unique property - they can turn into new healthy cells of the tissues that need to be repaired. In this case, that is the damaged brain tissue. In addition, the stem cells for cerebral palsy contribute to reconstruction of new blood vessels and improve blood flow to the affected tissues of the brain. Best results are obtained by using the so-called mesenchymal stem cell therapy.
Our clinic has developed the program of Adult Autologous Stem Cell Therapy treating a variety of conditions, one of them being cerebral palsy. In the process of stem cells treatment, 200 – 300 million cells are placed into the patient's body. They come from a person's body, which eliminates side effects and make the whole procedure very quick and simple.