Do you know? Stem cell therapy works for neurological disease like Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

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Published: 22nd November 2016
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What is Multiple sclerosis (MS) and the role of stem cells in MS?
What type of stem cellprocedure is good for MS?
What are the benefits of stem cells procedure in MS?
What are the adverse /side effects?
What level of evidence is there for such procedures?
What type of MS patients can try Mesenchymal stem cells?

Summary: Multiple Sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease in which our nervous system cells loose function and get degenerated due to autoimmune immune attack. With latest stem cell technology this autoimmune attack can be modulated to prevent further progression of disease and restoration of lost nervous tissue function by various trophic mechanisms which mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)exert.

What is Multiple sclerosis (MS) and the role of stem cells in MS?

MS is diagnosed by a neurologist based on international McDonald criterion which include history of weakness, abnormal sensations coupled with MRI findings of plaques in brain and spinal cord tissue. The symptoms may be progressive or on and off with/without progression. In advanced stages patients have significant disability due to paralysis which does not recover by any medical treatment available/known to medical science.

Stem cells are building blocks of nervous system; they give rise to all nervous tissue of brain and spinal cord. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been reported by some researchers to be effective in improving the disability by asignificant amount. This is believed to be because of three mechanisms
1. Immunomodulation - MSCs have potent immune modulatory property whereby they cut down the damage to the nerve cells caused by the attack of body's own immune system
2. Regeneration - MSCs release cytokines and growth factors which further mediate trophic effect on dead and dying cells of nervous system thereby stimulating resident stem cells to start the process of regeneration. The regeneration results in recovery of lost function of neurons i.e conduction of electrical impulses from brain to the rest of the body and vice versa
3. Neurotransmission - it has been shown in experimental models that there is enhancement in neurotransmitters which improves conduction of nerve impulses

What type of stem cell procedure is good for MS?

MSCs not only have regenerative property but also immuneo modulatory property which is not seen in other type of stem cells. This property is very important for autoimmune diseases like MS

What are the benefits of stem cell procedure in MS?
Patients may see remarkable improvement in following areas
1. Reduction in frequency of attacks and sometimes termination of attack
2. Reduction in severity of each attacks
3. Improvements in motor function i.e weakness, control of movements, bowel and bladder control
4. Improvement in sensory function like vision, touch, pressure, temperature, orientation
5. Improvement in lethargy and time to fatigue
6. Reduction in disability i.e EDSS score
7. Improvement in quality of life i.e MSQLI index
8. Progression of disease can slow down

What are the adverse /side effects?

There are almost no serious side effects as such reported till yet for MSCs however it is difficult to predict safety of other kind of stem cells. Minor side effects seen with MSCs are fever, body pain, headache, nausea vomiting and rashes etc which are self-limiting or require some medications.
There is almost no theoretical risk of tumor formation by MSCs and if MSCs is from allogeneic source then there is even lesser risk of tumor formation.

What level of evidence is there for such procedures?

Significant amount of research has gone into MSCs today for knowing its role in (MS). The research work available is in form of clinical trials and preclinical studies in appropriate disease models.
Level of evidence range from 4 to 5 for efficacy of MSCs (this means that there is some evidence)
Evidence for safety and efficacy for stem cells other than (MSCs) is either absent or poor

What type of MS patients may try Mesenchymal stem cells?

Relapsing remitting MS-Patients not responding or unwilling/unable to take interferon can try MSCs
Secondary progressive MS
Primary progressive MS

Dr. Prateek Gupta is born and raised in the heart of the healthcare world.if your would like to reach him send him you queries. We want to hear from you! Send us an email Now.
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