Stem Cell Therapy: Addressing Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system in which the body’s immune system begins to target healthy brain cells. As a result of these self-directed attacks, the nervous system develops inflammation that damages the myelin, nerve fibers, and the cells that produce myelin. Myelin is the protective, fatty substance that insulates the nerve fibers.
When myelin is destroyed in MS, the central nervous system cannot transmit neural signals anymore. Moreover, the damaged parts of the brain may form scar tissues, thus giving this disorder its unique name. Some of the most common symptoms of MS include vision troubles, numbness, fatigue, and weakness. However, these signs can vary from person to person.
The exact cause of MS remains unknown. But scientists believe that it may involve genetic susceptibility, environmental factors, and anomalies of the immune system. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for MS as of yet. However, stem cell therapy has proven to be an effective treatment to slow down the progression of this disorder.
Significant advancements have been made in the research and treatment of MS over the past decades. But, scientists continue to grapple with the challenge of minimizing the risk of life-long disability in the disease. Research shows that oxidative stress and inflammation in the central nervous system are the primary causes of continued tissue damage in MS.
The latest scientific study reveals that mesenchymal stem cells can reduce the oxidative damage caused by MS. These specialized cells secrete various substances that provide trophic support for the damaged nervous system. This helps in lowering clinical symptoms and hampering the progression of the disease. Resultantly, the tissue injuries in the nervous system begin to cease gradually.
Furthermore, another type of stem cells called hematopoietic could reset the body’s immune system. A clinical trial conducted of 617 MS patients showed promising results. The patients underwent autologous stem cell transplantation on an out-patient basis. A considerable majority of the individuals reported a reduction in disability progression after the treatment. Moreover, they also felt more invigorated.
In conclusion, it could be said that stem cell therapy has a great potential to counter oxidative damage in MS. Furthermore, it can also reduce the progression of long-term disability in patients. As more scientific studies emerge on this treatment option, many people can hope to benefit from it.
Ruiz-Argüelles GJ, Olivares-Gazca JC, Olivares-Gazca M, Leon-Peña AA, Murrieta-Alvarez I, Cantero-Fortiz Y, Gomez-Cruz GB, Ruiz-Argüelles A, Priesca-Marin M, Ruiz-Delgado GJ. Self-reported changes in the expanded disability status scale score in patients with multiple sclerosis after autologous stem cell transplants: real-world data from a single center. Clin Exp Immunol. 2019 Dec;198(3):351-358. doi: 10.1111/cei.13358. Epub 2019 Aug 19. PMID: 31394007; PMCID: PMC6857075.
Witherick, J., Wilkins, A., Scolding, N., & Kemp, K. (2010). Mechanisms of oxidative damage in multiple sclerosis and a cell therapy approach to treatment. Autoimmune diseases, 2011, 164608. https://doi.org/10.4061/2011/164608.