Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Affecting an estimated 15 million people in the United States alone, COPD is characterized by progressively worsening symptoms, including breathing difficulty, cough, mucus (sputum) production, and wheezing, and is most often the result of prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke.
Not just an issue for those in the U.S., COPD has been demonstrated to be a preventable and treatable global health challenge. With an estimated 3.5 million worldwide deaths attributed to COPD each year, the disease is currently the third leading cause of death.
While there have been medical advances in the treatment of COPD, these therapies focus primarily on symptomatic relief and not the reversal of lung function deterioration or improvement in patients’ quality of life.
Since stem cells are known to differentiate into a wide variety of cell types and have been previously used to regenerate lung parenchyma and airway structure, they are believed to be an evolving and promising therapeutic treatment option for those with COPD.
Supported by extensive studies exploring the mechanism of stem cells in the regulation of COPD, experts have demonstrated that stem cells possess multidirectional differentiation potential and are able to differentiate into specific forms of alveolar epithelial cells (type I and/or type II) and participate into the repair of lung tissue structure.
In this review, Chen et al. summarize the most relevant findings of eight clinical trials that explore the treatment of COPD with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
Examining the different types of MSCs used for these clinical trials, the authors conclude that while all types of MSCs have benefits in this application, AD-MSCs and UC-MSCs are very promising, primarily because the source is easily available; additionally, the process of collecting UC-MSCs is non-invasive. Looking at trends in recent clinical trials, the authors find a general increase in the shift toward using AD-MSCS and UC-MSCs and away from BM-MSCs, primarily for the reasons mentioned previously.
Analyzing results of these clinical trials related to mode, schedule, and dosage of administration, the authors found that stem cells administered intravenously into the body concentrated in the lungs for thirty minutes before gradually migrating to the liver; the inability of stem cells to keep stem cells in the lungs for a longer period of time was noted as a potential barrier that could limit the effectiveness of stem cell therapy for this condition.
To address this concern, the authors recommend adjusting the schedule and/or mode of administration, indicating that prior research suggests multiple doses and administration via airway injection using a bronchoscope is a good way to deliver stem cells directly to the lungs.
Chen et al. found that regardless of what type of MSCs and what mode of administration was used, stem cell therapy for the management of COPD has been proven to be safe and without evidence of any adverse events. However, only 2 of the eight clinical trials evaluated for this review demonstrated that MSCs could improve pulmonary function. The results of the other six indicated that MSCs had no effect on pulmonary function.
Considering these findings, and in view of the small number of patients in the two clinical trials demonstrating therapeutic improvement on pulmonary function, the authors call for further research to better understand the effects of MSCs on improvements of pulmonary function.
In closing, Chen et al. indicate that stem cell therapy may have a significant role in the future treatment of COPD and other respiratory diseases and offer a number of suggestions for future clinical trials. The recommendations provided by the authors for future clinical trials examining the therapeutic effects of MSCs when treating COPD include expanding the sample size, extending the follow-up time to a minimum of 2 years, selecting patients with different grades of COPD, considering using AD-MSCs and UC-MSCs (rather than BM-MSCs); and further exploring the effects of MSC on change in other inflammatory, immune, and metabolic indicators.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and is estimated to affect over 500 million people worldwide. A result of the progressive deterioration of the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones, OA most commonly affects the hands, knees, hips, and spine and is characterized by pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility in and around the affected areas.
Without a known way to treat and/or prevent OA from occurring, current conventional treatment of the condition typically involves a combination of prescription and OTC drugs, physical therapy, and lifestyle adjustments in an effort to treat and slow the progression of the symptoms associated with OA.
As the beneficial applications of stem cells continue to emerge, and considering their ability to replace and repair cells and tissues throughout the body, researchers believe that they can be used to treat joint disorders, including OA. The majority of the current stem cell therapies being investigated for use in treating OA use mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), primarily due to their multilineage differentiation towards cell types in the joints and for their immunoregulatory functions.
In this review, Kong et al. provide detailed information on OA and MSCs, share updated information on pre-clinical and clinical trials and related applications of MSCs, and discuss additional efforts on cell-based therapy for treating OA and other joint and bone diseases.
Several preclinical models have investigated MSCs in treating OA and have demonstrated success in generating cartilage from MSCs. In addition, several animal models have demonstrated the beneficial effect of MSCs on cartilage, including protecting existing cartilage, repairing defects of joint cartilage, regenerating and enhancing cartilage, and even preventing OA.
Additionally, there have been several animal models evaluating the effects of intra-articular injection of MSCs for treating OA with researchers noting marked regeneration of tissue and decreased degeneration of articular cartilage.
Clinical trials using MSCs to treat human joint cartilage defects have found that MSCs could be used to repair cartilage defects, improve joint function, reduce pain, and have demonstrated the potential to use MSC therapy for cartilage repair and regeneration as a way to reduce signs and symptom commonly associated with OA.
Although these studies have demonstrated the tremendous potential associated with the use of MSCs for treating OA, they have also highlighted some potential concerns associated with MSC-based therapy. These concerns include determining the specific number and type of MSCs best suited for treating OA, a better understanding of the timing and delivery strategies for the administration of MSCs, and identifying the stages of disease best suited for MSC therapy.
Further concerns highlighted by the authors include the potential of genetic influences when using autologous MSC cells for treatment, the potential for the overall quality of MSC cells used in older patients to be too low, and the overall safety of stem cell therapy as a therapeutic treatment option for OA.
Despite the concerns identified above, Kong et al. conclude that the advancement of regenerative medicine and innovative stem cell technology offers a unique and exciting opportunity to treat OA.
Neuropathic pain (NP) is a complex, wide-ranging, and often debilitating condition that contributes to chronic pain. Caused by a number of different factors and contributors, the condition most commonly involves disease, chronic condition, or injury to the nervous system.
Defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as pain that occurs as a direct consequence of a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system, NP is responsible for 20 to 25% of patients who experience chronic pain and is estimated to affect 8% of the population.
While there have been significant improvements in pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment for NP, these practices only provide consistent and lasting pain relief to a small percentage of patients. Recently regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, is being explored as a safe and effective NP therapy option.
In this review, Joshi et al. explore the possibilities of using stem cells in NP patients and discuss the relevant challenges associated with their uses in this application.
After identifying and defining the nine most common conditions associated with chronic, persistent, or recurring NP, the authors begin this review by pointing out that NP, to date, has been poorly recognized, poorly diagnosed, and poorly treated. A review of relevant literature has also demonstrated that the treatment of NP has consistently been a significant challenge for physicians, with most attempting to manage NP by targeting clinical symptoms rather than causative factors.
Most often, pharmacological treatment approaches for managing NP have included a variety of first-line drugs (tricyclic antidepressants, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and gabapentinoids) and opioid analgesics (tramadol) as second-line drugs. Third-line pharmacological NP treatment includes stronger opioids, such as morphine and oxycodone. Nonpharmacological NP treatment options for drug-refractory NP include interventional therapies (peripheral nerve blockade and epidural steroid injection), physical therapies (massage and ultrasound), and psychological therapies (cognitive behavioral therapy).
Long believed to arise from neurons, recent studies have demonstrated the important role of immune system response in the development of NP. Specifically, immune cells were found not only to be the source of pain mediators but also to produce analgesic molecules. These findings led researchers to believe that neutrophils and macrophages could each have a major role in early NP development.
Research has indicated that nerve injuries trigger an organized series of events to mount an inflammatory response. As part of this response to injury, pain following nerve damage has been shown to be mitigated by cytotoxic natural killer cells that selectively clear out partially damaged nerves. Additionally, this research has increasingly demonstrated that the immune system interacts with the sensory nervous system, contributing to persistent pain states.
Pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment approaches have only produced temporary pain relief in patients with NP. Recently, stem cell transplantation has demonstrated significant potential for repairing nerve damage in NP and has emerged as a potential alternative therapeutic treatment approach. While the exact mechanism underlying stem cell-mediated pain relief remains unclear, specific stem cells (human mesenchymal stem cells, or hMSCs) have demonstrated the potential to provide trophic factors to the injured nerve as well as the ability to replace injured or lost neural cells.
While stem cell-based therapies have been shown to protect against neurodegeneration and promote neuroregeneration, the authors point out several issues that need to be addressed. These outstanding issues include identifying the optimal dosing for stem cell transplantation in the treatment of NP, sourcing of stem cells, considerations of autologous versus allogeneic transplants, precommitment to neuronal lineage, and specific dosing requirements.
Joshi et al. conclude that while NP is a chronic heterogeneous condition of the sensory nervous system with no current curative treatment, stem cells present exciting therapeutic prospects for NP. While further research to understand the exact mechanism underlying stem cell-mediated pain relief is required, current literature provides evidence of the potential of stem cells in slowing the degeneration process while promoting the survival and recovery of damaged nerves.
Stem cell therapy is a type of regenerative medicine that involves using stem cells to promote the repair, regeneration, or replacement of damaged or diseased cells, tissues, or organs in the body. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the ability to develop into many different types of cells, such as muscle, bone, or cartilage cells, depending on the signals they receive in the body. In this article, we will discuss everything stem cell therapy including, the Stem Cell Therapy cost in 2023!
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a type of adult stem cell that can be found in various tissues in the body, including bone marrow, adipose tissue (fat), and umbilical cord tissue. These cells have the ability to differentiate into many different types of cells, including bone, cartilage, muscle, and fat cells.
In addition to their differentiation potential, MSCs have been found to possess immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, which make them an attractive candidate for use in regenerative medicine and cell-based therapies.
Stem cell therapy has shown promise in treating a wide range of conditions, including degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, and various types of injuries and tissue damage. The therapy works by promoting the body’s natural healing processes and replacing or repairing damaged cells, tissues, or organs with new, healthy cells.
Why Do Patients Explore the Option of Stem Cell Therapy?
Patients may explore stem cell therapy for a variety of reasons, depending on their individual circumstances and medical needs. Here are some of the common reasons why patients may explore stem cell therapy:
Treatment of chronic conditions: Stem cell therapy may hold promise for treating a wide range of chronic conditions, including neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, and various types of injuries and tissue damage.
Pain relief: Stem cell therapy may help to alleviate pain associated with conditions such as arthritis, back pain, and joint pain. By promoting tissue regeneration and repair, stem cell therapy can help to reduce inflammation and improve mobility.
Avoidance of surgery: For some patients, stem cell therapy may offer an alternative to surgery for conditions such as joint injuries or degenerative conditions. Stem cell therapy may be less invasive and have a shorter recovery time than surgical interventions.
Improvement in quality of life: Patients who are experiencing limitations in their mobility or other activities of daily living due to chronic conditions may explore stem cell therapy as a way to improve their quality of life and overall well-being.
It’s important to note that while stem cell therapy holds promise, it’s important to consult with a qualified healthcare provider to discuss the potential benefits, risks, and limitations of stem cell therapy for your specific condition.
How Much Does Stem Cell Therapy Cost?
Patients seeking relief from their conditions are exploring what regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, may offer but also how much these therapies are. It is important to be sure you are receiving a quality option for the health investment.
Most insurances will not cover treatments deemed alternative, including regenerative medicine, so these therapies are considered out of pocket. Stem cell therapy in the United States varies depending on the clinic, the location, and the physician performing the procedure. Since the treatment types and requirements vary widely, the cost can, too.
On average, adult Stem Cell therapy cost in 2023 in the U.S. range from $5,000 to $15,000.
Some clinics will offer financing options and others may also include travel accommodations for those having to travel.
How Do You Find a Quality Provider for Stem Cell Therapy?
When it comes to stem cell treatment, it’s important to ensure that you’re receiving quality care to maximize the potential benefits and minimize the risks. Here are some things to look for to ensure you’re getting quality stem cell treatment:
Credentials of the provider: Make sure that the provider administering the stem cell therapy is licensed and certified in their respective field. You can verify this by checking their credentials with the appropriate regulatory body.
Treatment protocols: The clinic should have established protocols for administering stem cell therapy that comply with industry standards and regulations. They should be able to provide you with detailed information on the treatment process, including the source and type of stem cells used.
Clinical experience: Choose a clinic with a track record of success and experience in administering stem cell therapy. You can ask for patient testimonials or case studies to verify their claims.
Safety measures: Stem cell therapy should be conducted in a sterile and safe environment to minimize the risk of infection or other complications. The clinic should follow strict safety protocols, including the use of sterile equipment and a clean treatment area.
Follow-up process: Quality stem cell therapy should include ongoing care and follow-up to monitor your progress and ensure that you’re getting the most benefit from the treatment. The clinic should have a follow-up plan in place to track your progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
It’s important to do your research and ask questions before committing to stem cell therapy. You can also consult with your healthcare provider to get their input and recommendations. Some patients are exploring options of stem cell therapies internationally. Traveling internationally for the treatment will include costs of flights, hotels, and overall travel expenses on top of the cost of treatment. But patients should consider differences in regulations, quality control, and medical practices. For example:
Lack of regulatory oversight: Different countries may have varying regulations for stem cell therapy, and some may have less strict oversight than others. This can make it difficult for patients to know if the treatments they receive overseas are safe and effective.
Quality control issues: Stem cell therapies may vary in quality depending on the facility where they are administered, the source of the cells, and the methods used to prepare and administer the cells. Overseas facilities may not have the same quality control standards as those in the patient’s home country.
Safety concerns: Stem cell therapies carry the risk of infection, immune reactions, and other complications, particularly if the cells are not prepared or administered correctly. Patients who receive stem cell therapy overseas may be at greater risk of complications if the facility is not properly equipped to manage potential adverse events.
Difficulty accessing follow-up care: Patients who receive stem cell therapy overseas may have difficulty accessing follow-up care or medical attention if complications arise after they return home.
The Stem Cell Therapy cost in 2023 may be expensive, but well-informed patients who undergo the treatment often find the benefits prove to be worth their investment, especially in cases where they no longer require ongoing prescriptions and pain medications. Talk to a qualifying provider to see if this alternative medicine may provide you with the opportunity for a better quality of life you are seeking.
Diabetes is one of the most common conditions in the world, affecting more than 37 million people in the United States alone.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects your body’s ability to process glucose, resulting in high blood sugar levels. An estimated 96 million people have prediabetes, meaning they could soon be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
To avoid a diabetes diagnosis, it is important that you can recognize early indicators of the disease. The following are some signs that may mean you have diabetes:
One of the earliest signs of diabetes is excessive and unusual urination. When you have diabetes, your body does not use sugar properly. The sugar collects in your blood, and your kidneys go into overdrive to remove it from the body. Your overworking kidneys lead to the constant urge to urinate.
With increased urination, you will start to experience increased thirst. Constant urination can cause your body to become dehydrated, and you will feel parched, even if you drink an adequate amount for your body weight.
Another early indicator of diabetes is extreme and unintentional weight loss. If you’ve noticed that you are losing a lot of weight without really trying to, you may have diabetes. For some people, this can be as much as 10 pounds in one month.
This weight loss occurs because your body is not processing glucose as it should be. Your cells become starved for glucose or energy and begin to find it elsewhere, causing you to burn fat at a rapid pace.
If you are experiencing these symptoms or other concerns, you may have diabetes or prediabetes. To get a proper diagnosis, speak to your regular physician. There are many treatment options for diabetes.
Some are exploring regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy for diabetes is a potential treatment approach that involves the use of stem cells to generate new insulin-producing cells that can help regulate blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Stem cells are cells that have the ability to differentiate into different cell types and can also self-renew and studies have shown that stem cells can differentiate into insulin-producing cells.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and progressive neurological disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord. MS occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin, a fatty material that surrounds and protects nerve fibers, causing inflammation and damage to the myelin and the nerve fibers themselves. Many people often wonder ” Is Multiple Sclerosis hereditary? Keep Reading to find out!
The symptoms of MS can vary widely depending on the location and extent of the damage to the CNS. Common symptoms include fatigue, weakness, balance problems, difficulty walking, numbness or tingling sensations, blurred or double vision, muscle stiffness and spasms, bladder and bowel problems, and cognitive impairment.
How is Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosed?
In general, the diagnosis of MS is made based on a combination of clinical symptoms, physical examination, and diagnostic tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cerebrospinal fluid analysis. While these tests cannot definitively determine the cause of MS, they can help to identify characteristic patterns of damage in the CNS that are consistent with the disease.
The identifying characteristic patterns of damage in the central nervous system (CNS) for multiple sclerosis (MS) can be seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and include the following:
Multiple lesions: MS typically causes multiple areas of damage, or lesions, in the CNS. These lesions can appear in various regions of the brain and spinal cord and are often visible on MRI scans as bright or dark spots.
White matter damage: MS primarily affects the myelin sheath, which is a fatty substance that surrounds nerve fibers in the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. The damage to the myelin results in the formation of lesions that can be seen on MRI scans.
Inflammation: MS is caused by an abnormal immune response that results in inflammation in the CNS. This inflammation can be seen on MRI scans as areas of increased brightness, indicating increased blood flow and immune cell activity.
Symmetry: MS lesions tend to occur in a symmetric pattern, meaning they appear in similar locations on both sides of the brain or spinal cord.
Time course: MS lesions can appear and disappear over time, and new lesions may develop while old lesions may heal. This pattern of damage over time is a key diagnostic feature of MS.
Overall, the combination of multiple lesions, white matter damage, inflammation, symmetric involvement, and a relapsing and remitting time course seen on MRI scans can help to distinguish MS from other neurological conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
Is Multiple Sclerosis Caused by Heredity or Environmental?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) has a complex etiology and while the cause of MS is not fully understood, research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may contribute to its development. Currently, there are no definitive tests to determine whether the condition is caused by genetic or environmental factors alone.
People with a family history of MS, certain infections, and vitamin D deficiency are thought to be at increased risk for the disease. Having a close relative with MS, such as a parent or sibling, does increase a person’s risk of developing the disease. However, the risk is still relatively low, with most people with a family history of MS not developing the disease themselves.
While there has been no single gene identified as the cause of the disease responsible for MS and appears to be complex and multifactorial. Genetic testing can be used to identify certain genes that may increase the risk of developing MS but it is not directly inherited in a simple Mendelian fashion, where a single gene is responsible for the disease and follows a predictable pattern of inheritance. Instead, it is believed that multiple genes, each contributing a small effect, interact with environmental factors to increase the risk of developing MS.
Environmental factors, such as exposure to certain infections, smoking, and low vitamin D levels, have also been linked to an increased risk of developing MS. However, it can be challenging to determine the precise environmental factors that contribute to the disease, as many factors may be involved, and their effects may be difficult to measure.
Overall, while genetics can play a role in the development of MS, it is a complex disease with multiple factors contributing to its onset, and more research is needed to fully understand its genetic basis.
Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a lifelong disease with no known cure, but there are treatments available to help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Traditional medicine may include medications to reduce inflammation and modulate the immune system, physical therapy to improve mobility and balance, occupational therapy to help with activities of daily living. But some are also exploring regenerative medicine.
What is Regenerative Medicine for MS?
Regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to replace or regenerate damaged or diseased tissues. This new alternative medicine has the potential to help slow down progression and manage symptoms.
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can develop into different types of cells in the body. The most common stem cell used in therapy today is the mesenchymal stem cell which can be derived from adipose (fat), umbilical cord, or bone marrow tissues.
In MS, stem cell therapy involves using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to regenerate damaged myelin and nerve fibers in the CNS. These MSCs can modulate the immune response and reduce inflammation, which can help to prevent further damage to the myelin sheath that surrounds and protects neurons. Studies have shown that stem cell therapy can improve neurological function and reduce disease activity in some patients with MS.
While regenerative medicine approaches for MS are still in the early stages of development, they hold great promise for the future treatment of this complex disease. To learn more about Regenerative Medicine and the different options for Multiple Sclerosis ( MS ) contact a care coordinator today at Stemedix!
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