Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most predominant neurodegenerative disorder worldwide, affecting over 10 million people. Characterized by a slow and progressive loss of control of the neurological system as a result of dopamine depletion, symptoms of PD often include tremors, slowed movement, impaired posture and balance, and gradual loss of automatic movements.
While PD cannot be cured, current treatment is focused on alleviating symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease. Specifically, deep brain stimulation or therapies to increase DA levels by administering a DA precursor are the available therapy options for PD.
However, research has found that DA precursor therapy has little effect on the progression of PD and its efficacy decreases as the disease progresses.
Recent progress in the clinical understanding of regenerative medicine and its properties associated with stem cell therapy has provided the opportunity to evaluate new and potentially effective methods for treating a wide range of neurodegenerative illnesses, including PD. Specifically, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been found to be the most promising form of stem cell and have demonstrated the ability to differentiate into dopaminergic neurons and produce neurotrophic substances.
In this review, Heris et al. discuss the application of MSCs and MSC-derived exosomes in PD treatment.
Research has identified dysregulation of the autophagy system in the brains of PD patients, suggesting a potential role for autophagy in PD. In PD models, MSCs may activate autophagy signals and exhibit immunomodulatory effects that alleviate inflammation and improve tissue healing; this type of treatment had previously been used in treating various forms of neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative illnesses.
The authors indicate that MSCs can be administered either systemically or locally. While systemic transplantation allows MSC-based treatment of pathologies affecting the entire body, local transplantation aims to alleviate symptoms associated with illnesses that originate from certain organs and is performed through intramuscular or direct tissue injection.
Research has also demonstrated that stem cell-derived dopaminergic transplants could be a suitable method for the long-term survival and function of transplants; in the case of MSC therapy, the average dose in animal models is usually 50 million cells for each kg of weight.
MSC-derived exosomes demonstrate therapeutic characteristics similar to their parents, have the ability to avoid whole-cell post-transplant adverse events, have a high safety profile, cannot turn into pre-malignant cells, and no cases of immune response and rejection have been reported.
While the use of MSCs in the treatment of PD continues to show potential, Heris et al. point out that many of the clinical trials have had few participants and can be costly. Considering these limiting factors, the results from these studies are not able to be generalized to everyday medical care without further clinical studies to address these concerns.
No one wants to grow old. That is apparent from the huge amounts of money people spend on anti-aging products and services each year. These products and services include everything from lotions to more invasive options like plastic surgery.
However, healthier aging is possible without relying on invasive procedures. Stem cell rejuvenation, for example, offers promising results for people searching for ways of going through a healthier aging process.
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Aging: What to Know
Intrinsic aging refers to the various traits you inherited, including collagen and elastin production levels, hormonal balance, and more. The thinning lips or particular types of wrinkles you see on your parents, for example, are intrinsic aging traits, and you will likely deal with them as you age, too.
Intrinsic aging doesn’t just refer to visible signs of aging. It also includes the damage that occurs to organs and other body tissues as you get older. How fast an organ deteriorates and how fast tissues regenerate to keep up with the damage all depends on intrinsic aging.
Extrinsic aging refers to the things that you can control about aging. It includes lifestyle choices like smoking, not eating correctly, and so much more.
Both intrinsic and extrinsic factors in aging begin to accumulate, sending messages of aging to the core of stem cells. Thus, everything associated with aging can be seen through the lens of stem cells.
Understanding Stem Cell Rejuvenation
Introducing youthful stem cells into the body can make it easier to rejuvenate existing cells, helping the body age in a healthier way and even offering the chance to reverse some of the effects of aging.
As you age, your cells are not as efficient at replicating as they were when you were younger. This leads to cells getting damaged and dying off. Inefficiency in cell replication leads to aging bodies.
Stem cells are the cells that create specialized cells. They are your body’s building blocks. To combat the natural aging process, stem cells can help regenerate damaged tissue. This is because they can be made into various cell types.
Stem cells can also stimulate the production of growth factors and other molecules that trigger healing mechanisms, helping maintain healthy tissues. Chronic, low-grade inflammation is associated with aging, and stem cells help to reduce inflammation.
They do this by impacting the processes of white blood cells. Macrophages are white blood cells that are integral to the immune system. M1 macrophages can create inflammation, while M2 macrophages reduce it.
Stem cells help transform M1 macrophages into M2 macrophages. This stimulates the process of reducing inflammation.
Another way stem cells help battle against the aging process is by modulating the immune system. They have the potential to maintain a healthy immune system and delay the type of immune dysfunction that comes with age.
Oxidative stress also plays a role in aging. Free radicals damage cells, leading to many of the issues the aging process causes. Stem cells help combat the effects of oxidative stress.
Stem cells also have the potential to affect visible signs of aging. They can increase collagen production, which is vital for maintaining skin flexibility and firmness. As part of the aging process, your collagen production decreases, leading to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
The Process of Stem Cell Rejuvenation
Stem cell rejuvenation begins with choosing the right type of stem cells. The main stem cell type used is mesenchymal stem cells.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a type of multipotent stem cell that can differentiate into a variety of cell types. They are typically found in the stromal or connective tissue of various organs and tissues in the body.
MSCs were first identified in the bone marrow, but they can also be isolated from other tissues such as adipose (fat) tissue, and umbilical cord tissue.
MSCs possess immunomodulatory properties, meaning they can regulate the immune system. They can influence the activity of immune cells, such as T cells and macrophages, and have anti-inflammatory effects. This makes them potentially useful for treating conditions with immune system dysregulation.
MSCs exhibit low immunogenicity, meaning they are less likely to provoke an immune response when transplanted into a recipient. This characteristic makes them potentially suitable for allogeneic (from a donor) transplantation.
MSCs have been studied for their potential therapeutic applications in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, and treatment of various diseases, such as autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and musculoskeletal conditions.
If from a patient’s own tissues, the healthcare provider extracts the stem cells and prepares them for injection. They then inject the stem cells into the treatment area to provide relief from inflammation while encouraging your body to start regenerating tissues at the same time.
Because stem cells have the ability to endlessly duplicate themselves, the benefits of stem cell therapy for rejuvenation purposes can only improve over time.
Benefits of Stem Cell Rejuvenation
Stem cell rejuvenation procedures are minimally invasive. They require an extraction of stem cells and then an injection or the introduction of an IV. Other procedures that target aging can be significantly more invasive, leading to long recovery times.
The results continue to improve over time. This is because stem cells will go on to multiply where they were injected, potentially leading to more powerful results.
Stem cell rejuvenation can target the aging process at the cellular level, helping reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative stress. Stem cells may lead to an increase in collagen production as well, which helps combat fine lines and wrinkles.
Choosing Regenerative Medicine
Anti-aging solutions don’t have to involve invasive procedures or the reliance on options that take a very long time to work. Regenerative medicine treatments like stem cell therapy offer the chance to tackle the causes of aging at the cellular level.
Stem cells can offer anti-inflammatory results while also targeting free radicals and helping repair damaged tissues as well as damaged stem cells. By turning to regenerative medicine options, you have the chance to find rejuvenation solutions that can work.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a disorder that affects the quality of life and the sexual relations of more than half of the male population aged over 40 years. Currently, it’s estimated that his disorder will affect more than 300 million men in the next five years.
According to the Mayo Clinic, male sexual arousal is a complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction can result from a problem with any of these. Additionally, stress and mental health concerns can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction.
The treatment of ED has traditionally been based on the temporary enhancement of penile erection but without a permanent treatment option. Current temporary treatment options include phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors (PDE5is) such as vardenafil, avanafil, tadalafil, and sildenafil, which are the most widely known and used medications for the treatment of ED.
Unfortunately, the treatment failure levels associated with these drugs are high, with unresponsive rates ranging between 20 and 40%. These failure rates often require the use of additional treatment options for the management of ED, including the use of intracorporeal injections, vacuum erection devices, and penile prosthesis implantation. However, the use and application is also limited due to the high cost, intolerance to side effects, pain, and unsatisfactory results.
In their review of current literature, Protogerou et al. evaluate and summarize the methods of administration, the cell types used in the performed clinical trials, and the safety and efficiency of procedures designed to treat ED.
Specifically, the authors reviewed 10 clinical studies published between 2010 and 2020 and used bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSCs), adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ADSCs), umbilical cord stem cells, and placenta-derived stem cells. One of the studies reviewed also examined the re-administration of stem cells as a potential therapeutic option. From the authors’ findings, each study demonstrated encouraging results characterized by improved sexual function with no side effects.
Protogerou et al. also point out a number of limitations with these studies, including each being a small study with a short follow-up period, various etiologies of ED, and without control groups.
Recent estimates indicate that one in every 10 people is affected by an autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune diseases occur when the normal function of the immune system mistakenly attacks normal and healthy cells within the body; examples of autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and lupus. Currently, there are over 80 known types of autoimmune disease.
Because of their proliferation and differentiation ability, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have increasingly drawn interest from the research community as a potential option for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
Reviewing the therapeutic effects of MSCs on each of the diseases, the authors found that with the exception of MS, transplantation of MSCs may improve clinical symptoms and clinical efficacy of these autoimmune diseases. However, the authors also point out that MSCs appear to produce certain specific effects on different autoimmune diseases.
Although no obvious adverse events resulting from MSC transplantation were reported or observed during these studies, and while MSCs appear to have certain effects on different autoimmune diseases, the authors conclude that this review provides relevant evidence for the design of future clinical trials specifically assessing MSC cell source, dosage, route of drug administration, and intervention in the most ideal disease state when treating this group of diseases.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a progressive, inflammatory rheumatoid disease that, over time, can result in chronic spinal arthritis and can cause the vertebrae to fuse together. Affecting an estimated 300,000 people in the U.S., AS causes the spine to become less flexible and can result in a hunched posture.
There is no current treatment for AS and current drug therapy options are focused on reducing inflammation, stiffness, and back pain. While current treatments assist in reducing inflammation, many patients with AS continue to experience unresponsive or painful side effects from these drugs.
In the search for a cure for AS, stem cells – and specifically, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have emerged as a potentially promising treatment option. Specifically, researchers believe the immunomodulatory and regenerative properties demonstrated by MSCs could reduce inflammatory responses and help tissue repair through cell-to-cell contact and secretion of soluble factors.
In this review, Abdolmohammadi et al. describe immunopathogenesis and current treatment restrictions of AS and discuss the recent findings of clinical trials involving MSC therapy in AS.
The safety and therapeutic potency of MSC therapy have been shown in many types of research. While there are currently a number of in-process clinical trials exploring MSC transplantation in related disorders, the transplantation of MSCs is a therapeutic option for AS patients who cannot tolerate the anti-inflammatory drugs.
Previous studies have demonstrated MSC infusion in AS patients to be a safe and beneficial choice with no severe side effects and is effective in decreasing related clinical symptoms and severity of the disease. There are also a number of clinical trials for curing AS patients currently in progress. These trials include phase 1 exploring the application of human umbilical cord-derived MSCs (hUC-MSCs) and IV infusion of MSCs plus NSAIDs in AS patients, phase 2 of a clinical trial evaluating human bone marrow-derived MSCs application in AS patients, and clinical trial phase I/II for the safety of MSC transplantation in patients with AS.
Although there have been notable achievements in the treatment of AS using NSAIDs, glucocorticoids, and other drugs, a therapeutic option without side effects has yet to be discovered. MSCs offer a favorable treatment option for the treatment of immune-mediated disorders, including AS.
While findings of previous studies demonstrate that MSC injection might be beneficial in alleviating AS signs and symptoms, the authors point out that further study is required to determine several important features of MSC therapy, including cell origin, dosage, administration route, and the most ideal stage of disease for intervention, before it can be accepted as a clinical option for treating AS.
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