Can Stem Cells Heal Traumatic Brain Injuries?

Can Stem Cells Heal Traumatic Brain Injuries?

TBIs, or traumatic brain injuries, are typically one of the most challenging types of medical ailments to treat. This is due to the sheer complexity of the human brain. Here we talk about how to heal traumatic brain injuries.

Fortunately, stem cell therapy may provide medical professionals with a viable treatment option when encountering patients suffering from TBIs. Stem cells are unique cells that are capable of transforming into other types of cells, including those present within the brain.

While stem cells have shown great promise when used to treat other types of soft tissue injuries, can they help heal traumatic brain injuries? Thus far, researchers have not found a definitive answer. However, initial data shows that stem cell therapy may have a positive impact on TBI patients.  

Types of Traumatic Brain Injury

Before we discuss how stem cell therapy may benefit individuals that have suffered a TBI, let’s briefly recap the various types of traumatic brain injuries.

Concussions

The most common type of traumatic brain injury is concussions. Concussions can occur when a person’s head collides with another individual, a fixed object, or a moving object. A prime example of an injury-causing event is when a football player’s helmet hits the helmet of another player or the turf. Concussions are characterized by a loss of consciousness, an altered mental state, and headaches.

Penetration Injuries

A less common but still frequent type of TBI is caused by a penetration injury. These injuries occur when a foreign object pierces the skull and damages the brain. Penetration injuries can be caused by sharp objects, bullets, and shrapnel.

Diffuse Axonal Injuries

The third class of TBI is referred to as a diffuse axonal injury. This type of injury occurs when a person experiences rapid deceleration or acceleration. Diffuse axonal injuries are most likely to occur during motor vehicle accidents.

How Stem Cells May Help

Every year, approximately 1.5 million people suffer from TBIs in the U.S. alone. Roughly 230,000 people are admitted to the hospital and survive their injuries. Of these, about one-third (80,000–90,000) suffer from some sort of long-term disability.

In the past, clinicians focused on managing the many symptoms of TBIs via the use of medications and rehabilitative therapies. However, stem cell therapy has become a safe and natural alternative treatment option for many different neurodegenerative conditions, including TBIs.

Early research suggests that stem cell therapy may be able to:

  • Improve cognitive function
  • Improve appetite
  • Improve mood and stamina
  • Decrease chronic pain
  • Increase energy

If you or a loved one is suffering from a TBI injury, stem cell therapy might be able to help mitigate or improve symptoms. If you would like to learn more contact us today and speak with a care coordinator.

What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?

What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?

A question we get a lot is what is traumatic brain injury? Traumatic brain injury (or TBI) is usually caused by a violent blow to the head or body. An object piercing the brain tissue, such as may happen in an automobile accident, can also cause TBI. Most traumatic brain injuries are mild concussions that do not require hospitalization, but sadly, TBI does contribute to nearly 50,000 deaths a year in the U.S. Treatments for traumatic brain injury depend on the severity of the injury. Therapies may include emergency treatment, medications, rehabilitation, and stem cell therapy.  

Inflammation is the body’s normal response to injury, but the hard skull around the brain prevents outward swelling when it’s injured. Instead, pressure builds up inside the skull, and this pressure can cause even further injury. 

Interruption in communication patterns between the brain’s neurotransmitters creates an imbalance of the delicate chemistry needed for normal function. If the injury is mild, normal function may resume when the brain heals and inflammation recedes. But if the pressure is prolonged or the injury is more severe, complications can be life-altering.

The Symptoms of TBI

The term “traumatic brain injury” sounds severe, and in some cases, it can be. However, traumatic brain injury is also the correct term for describing mild concussions that don’t appear to be concerning immediately after the event. Symptoms and complications related to TBI may appear days or even weeks after the injury. That is why all TBIs should be considered serious incidents until more information becomes available.

Symptoms of a mild TBI may include:

  • Headache,
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Speech problems
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Strange taste in the mouth
  • Loss of smell
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes
  • Feeling confused, disoriented
  • Problems with memory or difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings

A more serious TBI may also cause convulsions, clear fluids draining from ears or nose, weakness in toes and fingers, or dilation of one or both pupils.

Seek medical care if you or someone you know exhibits any of the above signs after a fall or some other type of accident that involves a blow to the head. Children are especially at risk for long-term complications of TBI and should be evaluated immediately.

Can Regenerative Medicine Help TBI?

Regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, has shown potential for managing a range of neurodegenerative disorders, including traumatic brain injury. While it is still considered experimental, studies on stem cell therapy show promise for its ability to replace damaged brain cells with healthy new cells and potentially restore or improve brain function. If you would like to learn more contact a care coordinator today!

Is Stem Cell Therapy Effective for Osteoarthritis?

Is Stem Cell Therapy Effective for Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) affects over 32.5 million adults in the U.S. It is the most common type of arthritis and is also known as degenerative joint disease. Symptoms can be mild to completely debilitating pain in some people. Here we discuss is stem cell therapy effective for osteoarthritis?

Fortunately, most patients can manage their OA symptoms with lifestyle changes. But for those who experience severe pain, lifestyle changes aren’t always enough. Stem cell therapy is a safe, non-invasive treatment that may bring long-lasting relief for individuals with OA. 

Causes and Risk Factors for OA

In most cases, osteoarthritis is caused by normal wear and tear on the joints. As the protective cartilage inside a joint begins to wear down, it creates changes in the underlying bone. The result can be inflammation, pain, stiffness in the joints, and a decreased range of motion.

Age is the number-one risk factor for developing OA. As we age, everyday movements cause the cartilage to break down. Other risk factors include the following:

  • Genetics: If people in your family have OA, you are more likely to develop the condition
  • Obesity: Extra weight increases the stress on weight-bearing joints
  • Joint injury: A joint that has been damaged is more likely to develop OA
  • Repetitive use:  Repetitive bending, kneeling, or other movements can cause the cartilage to break down sooner
  • Gender: Women, and especially women over 50, are at the highest risk for developing OA

Many people ask the question – Is Stem Cell Therapy Effective for Osteoarthritis? Traditional treatments for OA typically involve a combination of therapies such as physical therapy, weight loss, medications, and using supportive devices like a cane. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended.

How Does Regenerative Medicine Help Osteoarthritis?

Whether you have been newly diagnosed with OA or have been coping with the condition for many years, regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, is considered to be a safe treatment for most patients with OA and other orthopedic complaints such as degenerative disc disease

The most common side effects of receiving stem cell therapy are temporary swelling and mild pain at the injection site. The inflammation that occurs when joint cartilage becomes damaged is one cause of OA pain. Swollen tissues cause pressure on the delicate nerves that surround the joints. The other source of pain is from the joints themselves. Without the protection of cartilage, joint bones come into direct contact with one another.

Stem cells release anti-inflammatory agents that reduce the pain caused by swelling and promote healing within the joint. Stem cell therapy may also be able to regenerate healthy new cartilage tissue. Each case of OA is considered and set with realistic expectations and stem cell therapy offers patients an alternative option to manage their condition and symptoms. If you would like to learn more or schedule an a consultation, contact a care coordinator today!

Using Mesenchymal Stem Cells In The Repair Of Articular Cartilage

Using Mesenchymal Stem Cells In The Repair Of Articular Cartilage

Articular cartilage is the smooth, white cartilage that covers the ends of the bone in diarthrodial joints. Essential for fluid and pain-free movement, articular cartilage protects the bones by reducing friction and absorbing shock.

However, articular cartilage is also subject to damage and injury as a result of normal wear and tear or as a result of a number of conditions, including osteoarthritis (OA), osteonecrosis, and osteochondritis. Articular cartilage has been found to have a weak capacity for self-repair, mostly a result of having no blood, lymphatic, or nerve supply.

Until recently, the primary option for treatment of joint cartilage defects, including damage to articular cartilage, involved a series of invasive marrow simulating techniques, including microfracture, Pridie drilling, and abrasion arthroplasty which generally produced inferior results.

The search for alternative and more effective treatment options for damaged joint cartilage has recently led scientists to identify mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as an appropriate cellular material for repair of joint cartilage, and specifically for articular cartilage.

As part of this review, authors Eslaminejad and Poor examine and identify the past attempts to use MSCs as a way to cure articular cartilage defects occurring as a result of OA, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and trauma. In addition, the authors further discuss the specific characteristics that led scientists to conclude MSCs to be an appropriate cell candidate for regenerating articular cartilage, including their inherent chondrogenic property, ease of availability, cell homing potential, and immunomodulatory function.

MSCs demonstrate the ability for long-term self-renewal and the capacity to differentiate along multiple cell lineages – including cartilage cells. While bone marrow has been found to possess low numbers of MSCs, the cells have been easily multiplied through standard lab-based culture techniques. In addition, MSCs are considered readily available cells for application in regenerative medicine, thanks in large part to their availability from a number of sources in the body, including adipose tissue, synovial membrane, and skeletal muscle.

Among the most compelling reasons for MSCs being considered appropriate for the repair of articular cartilage is their homing potential. Specifically, the homing potential of MSCs is thought to help repair damaged cartilage by differentiating into tissue cells to restore function and by secreting a number of bioactive factors to create a repair environment with anti-apoptotic effects, immunoregulatory function, and stimulation of endothelial progenitor cell proliferation.

While using MSCs to repair damaged articular cartilage appears to have tremendous potential, the treatment is not without potential drawbacks or concerns. Among the most pressing of these concerns is that MSCs-regenerated cartilage is potentially too thin to resemble mature cartilage and hypertrophy resulting from MSC-regeneration could lead to ossification of cartilage tissue.

As such, there have been several recent attempts to evaluate the potential of using MSCs to regenerate articular cartilage in both animals and humans, with all demonstrating some degree of enhanced healing and repair by using MSCs as treatment.

The authors conclude that while using MSCs in the repair of damaged articular cartilage appears to have tremendous potential for long-term clinical success, they also call for further research into a number of areas, including improving the quality of repair tissue formed following MSC transplantation, enriching the cell population for chondrogenic cells, and further study into developing a safe and highly efficient gene delivery system for MSCs used in the regeneration and repair of articular cartilage.

Source: “Mesenchymal stem cells as a potent cell source for articular … – NCBI.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4131275/.

Using Autologous Adipose-Derived Stem Cells and Platelet-Rich Plasma to Treat Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis

Using Autologous Adipose-Derived Stem Cells and Platelet-Rich Plasma to Treat Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting more than 900 million people around the world. Developing when the cartilage that protects your bones wears down, osteoarthritis (OA) most commonly affects the joints of the hand, hips, spine, and knees[1].

While current treatment for OA and related joint damage is focused primarily on managing pain and minimizing further damage, function, and quality of life issues, no preventative therapeutic treatment currently exists for preventing or rehabilitating the condition.

Recently, stem cell therapy has been found to be an efficient therapeutic approach for treating degenerative joint conditions, including OA. Specifically, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), from adipose cells have been demonstrated to be the most promising type of stem cell for treating osteoarthritis.

In this study, Bui et al. studied the outcomes of applying MSCs harvested from adipose tissue in an effort to evaluate the therapeutic potential when transplanted in patients with grade II and III osteoarthritis.

Building on the findings of previously published studies, the authors specifically evaluated the in vitro and animal model effects of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) on the differentiation of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC)

Previous studies have demonstrated that PRP treatment of ADSCs promotes differentiation and proliferation into chondrogenic cells which resulted in improved healing of articular cartilage when ADSCs were pretreated with PRP. An additional study demonstrated the effects of PRP on the non-expanded stromal vascular fraction (SVF) in cartilage injury observed in an animal model, demonstrating significant regeneration of cartilage.

The aim of this clinical trial was to evaluate the efficiency and related side effects of non-expanded SVF when combined with PRP in treating OA grade II or III.

At the conclusion of Bui et al.’s study, patients demonstrated significant improvements in key measures, including improved joint function, decreased pain score, and improved gradual and consistent improvement observed in pre and post observations as measured by the Lysholm score. 

As further evidence of the success associated with a therapeutic treatment combination of ADSC and PRP, post-treatment MRIs demonstrated cartilage regeneration and thicker layers of cartilage at the injured site after 6 months of treatment. In addition, all participating patients reported reduced pain levels after 3 months and 71% of patients demonstrated the ability to climb and descend stairs after 3 months. None of the patients participating in this study demonstrated infection, tumor formation, or any other side effect or complication as a result of this procedure.

As a result of their findings in this study, Bui et al. conclude that this therapeutic treatment method was successful in reducing pain, regenerating cartilage, and improving the quality of life for patients who participated. However, considering the small size of this study, the authors call for additional and larger-scale studies to confirm the potential for this promising, minimally invasive stem cell therapy for patients with osteoporosis.

Source:  “Symptomatic knee osteoarthritis treatment using autologous adipose ….” 5 Oct. 2016, http://www.bmrat.org/index.php/BMRAT/article/view/11.


[1] “Osteoarthritis – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic.” 16 Jun. 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351925.

Treating Immune-Mediated Disorders with Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Treating Immune-Mediated Disorders with Mesenchymal Stem Cells

When it comes to their potential for biomedical applications, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) continue to garner support and attention from the global scientific community. Isolated from a variety of sources, including bone marrow, adipose tissue, and umbilical cord tissue, MSCs demonstrate multipotent differentiation in vitro. In other words, they are tissues that are able to develop into more than one type of cell.

Considering MSCs ability to expand into osteogenic, chondrogenic, adipogenic, and myogenic cells for the purposes of repair and recovery, they continue to attract attention for treating a wide variety of conditions, including inflammatory lung and musculoskeletal disorders, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Crohn’s disease (CD).

As part of this review, Markov et al. provide a brief overview of MSC sources, migration process, and unique immunomodulatory attribute’s mechanisms while also focusing on the current findings pertaining to the immunoregulatory plasticity of MSCs and how that contributes to the regulation of immune response to elicit the desired therapeutic outcomes in patients suffering from immune-mediated/immune-dysregulating diseases.

Interestingly, the ability of MSCs to exhibit anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties has proven beneficial in clinical trials exploring therapeutic treatments of a number of immune-mediated disorders, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and MS.  Specifically, the findings of these clinical trials provide evidence that MSCs replace injured tissues while also serving as a source of growth factors and regenerative molecules. These findings also demonstrate that specific differential molecular mechanisms, when correctly identified, appear to be able to adjust the potential of MSCs in the regeneration of damaged tissue.

This review also explores the immunomodulatory properties of MSCs. Specifically, MSCs have been found to modify immunological reactions in several ways, including T cell suppression and induction of macrophages shift from M1 to M2, making MSCs an emerging therapeutic treatment option to a number of immune-mediated disorders including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), MS, OA, RA, and CD.

Despite the observed benefits of MSCs in treating these immune-mediated disorders, the authors call for additional large-scale studies over prolonged periods of evaluation before fully utilizing MSCs in clinical applications.

Given their ability to differentiate into a wide variety of cells, their immunomodulatory competence, and lower ethical concerns, Markov et al. conclude that MSCs have good reason to be considered a viable therapeutic option for the treatment of a wide range of immune-mediated disorders. 

While animal studies continue to provide evidence of the safety, feasibility, and efficacy of administration of MSCs in immunological disorder, the authors point out that potential of MSCs have not yet been fully realized through human clinical outcomes. Considering this, the authors call for further investigation and study to better understand how recruiting MSCs can improve migration and homing following transplantation. 

Finally, the authors point out that enriching MSC culture, choosing appropriate induction factors, and exploring new ways to promote MSCs homing post-transplantation when accompanied by further exploration of optimal MSC dose and route will further improve therapeutic outcomes in patients with immune-mediated diseases.

Source: (2021, March 18). Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells as a valuable source for the … – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7971361/

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