Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive auto-immune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS). Currently, it is estimated that nearly 2 million people worldwide are affected by MS.
Characterized by the body attacking the myelin (the protective sheath that covers the nerve fibers), MS causes communication issues between the brain and the rest of the body. As the nerves continue to deteriorate, the condition can cause permanent damage.
Currently, there is no pharmaceutical treatment for MS, only medications that treat the symptoms of the condition.
In the field of regenerative medicine, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have emerged as a candidate that could potentially treat a number of diseases, including MS. Specifically, MSCs have anti-inflammatory effects and have demonstrated the ability to differentiate in order to target the overactivity and self-antigen attacks observed in the development and progression of MS.
As part of this review, Alanazi et al. reviewed a number of clinical trials that have utilized MSCs isolated from a variety of sources, including peripheral blood, bone marrow (BM-MSCs), adipose tissue (AD-MSCs), umbilical cord (UCMSCs), and the placenta, in order to better understand their potential as a treatment option for MS.
An analysis of these clinical trials led the authors of this review to the consensus that MSCs appear effective in inhibiting CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation, T regulatory cells, and macrophage switch into the auto-immune phenotype.
Further analysis of the specific MSCs used to treat MS by Alanazi et al. indicates that while BM-MSCs, AD-MSCs, and UCMSCs all demonstrate beneficial effects when applied to the treatment of MS, UCMSCs appear to be the best option.
According to the authors, UCMSCs demonstrate faster self-renewal than other MSCs, are able to differentiate into three germ layers, and can accumulate in damaged tissue or inflamed areas. Additionally, UCMSCs are also among the easiest MSCs to source, demonstrate a high concentration of MSCs, are safe and inexpensive, and are not associated with ethical issues.
Based on the information reviewed, Alanazi et al. recommend emphasizing the clinical utility of UCMSCs for regenerative medicine and immunotherapy, including for the treatment of MS.
Adding salt or minerals to your water for hydration can have certain benefits. Here are a few potential advantages:
Electrolyte balance: Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge and play a crucial role in maintaining proper fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle contractions. By adding a small amount of salt or minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium to your water, you can help replenish electrolytes lost through sweat or excessive urination. This can be particularly beneficial during intense physical activity or in hot weather conditions.
Enhanced hydration: Adding a pinch of salt to your water can improve its absorption and promote better hydration. The presence of electrolytes in water can aid in fluid retention and prevent dehydration by facilitating the absorption of water in the body.
Improved taste and palatability: Some people find plain water to be bland or unappealing, which can lead to inadequate fluid intake. Adding a touch of salt or minerals can enhance the taste of water, making it more enjoyable and encouraging you to drink more.
Replenishing trace minerals: Certain minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, are essential for various bodily functions. If your diet is lacking in these minerals, adding them to your water can be a convenient way to supplement your intake.
Support for active lifestyles: For individuals engaged in prolonged or vigorous exercise, consuming electrolytes through water with added salt or minerals can help prevent muscle cramps, fatigue, and maintain optimal performance.
It’s important to note that while adding salt or minerals to your water can have benefits, moderation is key. Excessive intake of salt or minerals can have negative health effects, such as increased blood pressure or electrolyte imbalances. It’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before making significant changes to your hydration routine or electrolyte supplementation.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that occurs as a result of the body’s immune system attacking the protective sheath, or myelin, responsible for covering nerve fibers. Characterized by progressive nerve deterioration and damage of the nerve fibers, MS is currently estimated to affect nearly 600,000 adults in the United States.
While a specific cause of MS has not yet been determined, recent findings have suggested interactions between environmental and genetic factors as contributors to the susceptibility to MS.
Current pharmaceutical treatments for MS have demonstrated the ability to slow symptoms associated with MS but have not demonstrated the ability to treat or prevent the disease itself.
Recent studies have identified mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as having anti-inflammatory properties that could potentially be an effective therapy option for preventing or managing overactivity and self-antigen attacks by T cells and macrophages that are commonly associated with MS.
As part of this review, Alanazi et al. examined the most relevant clinical trials that utilized MSCs from a variety of sources as part of their investigation into the effectiveness of these stem cells as a potential therapy for MS.
MSCs are able to be easily isolated from multiple sources of the human body, including bone marrow, adipose tissue, umbilical cord, and the placenta. These stem cells have also demonstrated the ability to be expanded in culture media and to be safely utilized as autologous treatment without the risk of rejection.
Regardless of their source, MSCs, in general, have been demonstrated to be highly proliferative, capable of self-renewal, and have immunomodulatory and neurodegenerative effects. In addition, MSCs demonstrate the ability to differentiate and secrete anti-inflammatory factors that allow them to control the progress of autoimmune diseases, including MS.
After examining numerous clinical trials utilizing MSCs from a range of sources, the authors conclude that MSCs – regardless of their source – will all work on inhibiting CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation, T regulatory cells (Tregs), and macrophage switch into the auto-immune phenotype.
While there are many good sources of MSCs, Alanazi et al. also conclude that previously conducted clinical trials demonstrate umbilical cord MSCs (UCMSCs) to be the best option for the management of Multiple Sclerosis for several reasons. These reasons include faster self-renewal than other MSCs, the ability to differentiate into three germ layers, and the observed ability to accumulate in damaged tissue or inflamed areas.
Additionally, and besides being one of the few MSC sources without ethical concerns, UCMSCs offer benefits from a practical standpoint The separation of MSCs from the umbilical cord is easy and painless, the number of cells collected per unit is high, UCMSC transfusion is not expensive, and UCMSCs have been shown to be very safe to use in this application.
Considering the information presented in this review, Alanazi et al. recommend the clinical use of UCMSCs for regenerative medicine and immunotherapy.
ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is a progressive and fatal neurological disease that affects the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. The disease causes these motor neurons to degenerate and eventually die, leading to a loss of muscle control and eventual paralysis. In this article, we will discuss the potential benefits of Regenerative Medicine for ALS.
The initial symptoms of ALS may vary, but often include muscle weakness, cramping, twitching, and difficulty speaking, swallowing, or breathing. As the disease progresses, these symptoms worsen and spread to other parts of the body, eventually resulting in complete paralysis.
There is currently no cure for ALS, but various treatments are available to manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.
How Do You Diagnose ALS?
Diagnosing ALS can be challenging as there is no specific test or procedure to definitively confirm the disease. Instead, a diagnosis of ALS is typically based on a combination of medical history, clinical examination, and various tests to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. The diagnostic process for ALS may involve:
Medical history: The doctor may ask questions about your symptoms, medical history, family history, and any other relevant information.
Clinical examination: The doctor may conduct a physical examination to check for signs of muscle weakness, spasticity, or atrophy, as well as abnormal reflexes or muscle twitching.
Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies: These tests measure the electrical activity of muscles and nerves and can help detect abnormalities associated with ALS.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This imaging technique uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the brain and spinal cord, which can help rule out other conditions.
Blood and urine tests: These tests can help rule out other diseases that may have similar symptoms to ALS.
Lumbar puncture (spinal tap): In some cases, a sample of cerebrospinal fluid may be taken from the spinal cord to help rule out other conditions.
It’s important to note that ALS is a difficult disease to diagnose, and the diagnostic process can be lengthy and may require multiple tests and visits to various specialists.
What Treatments are Available for ALS?
There is currently no cure for ALS, but there are various treatments available that can help manage the symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life. The treatment plan for ALS usually involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes medications, assistive devices, and supportive care.
Medications: Riluzole is the only FDA-approved drug for ALS treatment. It is thought to work by reducing the damage to the nerve cells and delaying the progression of the disease. Other medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms such as muscle spasms, pain, and depression.
Assistive devices: Various assistive devices such as wheelchairs, speech synthesizers, and breathing machines can help patients maintain independence and improve their quality of life.
Physical therapy: Regular exercise and physical therapy can help improve mobility, reduce stiffness and pain, and slow down the progression of the disease.
Speech therapy: As ALS progresses, patients may experience difficulty with speaking and swallowing. Speech therapy can help patients improve their ability to communicate and swallow food.
Nutritional support: As the disease progresses, patients may have difficulty eating and may require a feeding tube to ensure proper nutrition.
Supportive care: Palliative and hospice care can provide emotional and practical support for patients and their families, focusing on improving the patient’s quality of life and managing symptoms.
It’s important to note that the treatment plan for ALS varies from person to person and is based on individual symptoms and needs.
Regenerative Medicine for ALS
Regenerative medicine is an emerging field that holds great promise for the treatment of ALS. The goal of regenerative medicine is to repair or replace damaged or degenerating cells and tissues in the body, including the nerve cells affected by ALS.
There are several approaches to regenerative medicine that are being explored for the treatment of ALS, including:
Stem cell therapy: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a type of adult stem cell that can differentiate into various cell types, including neural cells, and have been shown to have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. MSCs have been investigated as a potential therapy for ALS due to their ability to differentiate into motor neurons and their potential to modulate the immune response and promote tissue repair.
Studies have shown that MSCs can secrete a range of factors that can promote the survival and growth of motor neurons, protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, and promote neuroplasticity. MSCs can be administered via various routes, including intravenous injection, intrathecal injection, or direct injection into the spinal cord or muscle tissue.
Gene therapy: Gene therapy involves introducing a healthy copy of the defective gene responsible for ALS into the patient’s cells, which can help prevent further damage to the nerve cells. Gene therapy is still in the experimental stage for ALS and requires further research.
Neuroprotection: Neuroprotective therapies aim to protect the motor neurons from further damage and degeneration. Various drugs and compounds are being studied for their potential neuroprotective effects in ALS.
Biomaterials: Biomaterials are materials that can be used to support and enhance the function of tissues and organs. In ALS, biomaterials may be used to deliver drugs or stem cells directly to the affected area.
While there is no cure for ALS yet, research into regenerative medicine and other potential treatments is ongoing, and progress is being made in the field.
Where Can You Access Regenerative Medicine For ALS?
Stem cell therapy for ALS is still considered an experimental treatment, and it is not widely available or approved by regulatory agencies such as the FDA for this indication. Therefore, it is important to approach any stem cell therapy for ALS with caution and to thoroughly research any treatment centers or clinics that offer such therapy.
Currently, there are only a few clinical trials investigating the safety and effectiveness of stem cell therapy for ALS. These trials are being conducted at research institutions and hospitals, and participation is typically limited to patients who meet specific eligibility criteria. The treatment will be overseen by a team of healthcare professionals, including neurologists, stem cell researchers, and other specialists in ALS management.
If stem cell therapy is being administered outside of a clinical trial, patients should seek out healthcare professionals who have extensive experience in the field of stem cell research and who are knowledgeable about the use of stem cells for the treatment of ALS.
It’s important to note that patients should only seek treatment from licensed and reputable healthcare professionals who follow appropriate regulatory guidelines and ethical standards. Before undergoing stem cell therapy for ALS, patients should discuss their options with a qualified healthcare professional.
Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs) are the non-hematopoietic, multipotent stem cells with the capacity to differentiate into mesodermal lineages such as osteocytes, adipocytes, and chondrocytes as well ectodermal (neurocytes) and endodermal lineages (hepatocytes).
Until recently, when the immunomodulation properties of MSCs were proven to be clinically relevant, the use of these stem cells was met with skepticism and doubt by a large portion of the scientific community.
However, since that time, MSCs have demonstrated tremendous potential for allogeneic use in a number of applications, including cell replacement, and tissue regeneration, and for use in the therapeutic treatment of immune- and inflammation-mediated diseases. In fact, in many cases, the use of MSCs has been so successful that they appear to demonstrate more efficacy than what has been observed previously in traditional regenerative medicine.
Among the many benefits making MSCs so interesting for this application is their capacity for both multilineage differentiation and immunomodulation. Obtaining a better understanding of these capacities has opened new doors in regenerative medicine and demonstrated that these somatic progenitor cells are highly versatile for a wide range of therapeutic applications.
Additionally, the authors of this review point to research indicating the capacity of MSCs to home to the site of injury and/or inflammation, making them more attractive for use in clinical application. In this review, Wang et al. focus on this non-traditional clinical use of tissue-specific stem cells and highlight important findings and trends in this exciting area of stem cell therapy.
At the time this review was published, there were over 500 MSCs-related studies registered with the NIH Clinical Trial Database. Interestingly, nearly half of these trials involve attempts to better understand the use of MSCs in treating immune- and inflammation-mediated diseases – an indication of the recent shift in focus when determining effective therapeutic applications of MSCs.
In reviewing these clinical trials, Wang et al. found that the most common immune-/inflammation-mediated indications in MSC clinical trials were for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), osteoarthritis (OA), obstructive airway disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and solid organ transplant rejection.
Clinical trials involving MSCs, and specifically HSCs, in GVHD have indicated that while there may be indications of immunosuppressant therapy, immune rejection in the form of GVHD is still a major cause of morbidity and mortality, occurring in 30 ~ 40 % of allogeneic HSC transplantations.
Despite a number of clinical trials indicating significant efficacy in the use of MSCs for GVHD treatment, the authors point out that these findings were not observed consistently throughout all trials. Significant differences in these studies appeared to be related to differences in adult and pediatric applications, a specific type of HSC that was transplanted, and the type of MSCs that were utilized. There also appears to be a disparity in the results obtained from similar studies conducted in Europe and North America. Considering this, there are a number of studies involving MSCs and GVHD still ongoing.
These findings led the authors to conclude that despite the strong potential of MSCs as therapeutic agents for GVHD, detailed tailoring of the patient population and stringent MSC processing criteria are necessary to deliver consistent and reproducible results.
Despite the mixed findings for use of MSCs in the treatment of GVHD, trials reviewed for other immune/inflammation-mediated diseases, including MS, inflammatory bowel disease, OA, RA, and inflammatory airway and pulmonary diseases demonstrated positive results pertaining to the safety of MSC therapy when used in this application.
Specifically, Wang et al. point out that although there have been positive results observed in preclinical animal studies, these results have not translated to clinical efficacy. In considering this, the authors suggest a focus on better clarifying pathophysiological details and subsets within disease entities to better tailor MSC therapy and standardization of in vitro culture protocols with stringent criteria for testing of functional parameters as two important steps to improve our understanding on the mechanistic properties of MSC immunomodulation.
Despite these recommendations, the authors conclude that the current results and developments of these clinical trials demonstrate that the tremendous potential of MSC therapy in a wide range of areas, including the treatment of immune/inflammation-mediated diseases, can be expected in the near future to achieve clinical relevance. Source: “Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for treatment towards ….” 4 Nov. 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5095977/.
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