As one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders, multiple sclerosis (MS) affects millions of patients. This progressive condition can cause everything from muscle weakness to double vision. Regenerative medicine is showing new potential when it comes to treating multiple sclerosis. Read on to learn more about how stem cells can help patients with MS.
What Happens During Multiple Sclerosis Flares?
In multiple sclerosis, a person’s immune system attacks the myelin of their nerve fibers. Myelin is a material that forms a protective layer, or sheath, around nerve fibers and shields them from damage. When the immune system attacks the myelin sheath, it causes inflammation and lesions that make it difficult for the brain to send signals throughout the rest of the body.
While there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, patients may undergo a wide variety of treatments to manage their symptoms. This may include physical therapy, immunosuppressants, steroids, and beta-blockers. Regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, is also showing great potential when it comes to managing multiple sclerosis and its symptoms.
Stem Cells and Multiple Sclerosis
Regenerative medicine works within the body at a cellular level, stimulating a healing response that can address certain symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Various types of stem cells have the potential to regenerate lost or damaged cells, including those that form the myelin sheath. This has the potential to improve the lives of MS patients, whose myelin layers have been damaged by inflammation.
The following are three types of stem cells that can be used to treat multiple sclerosis:
Haematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs)
Haematopoietic stem cells are adult stem cells found in the blood and bone marrow. These cells play an active role in immune function.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs)
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are present in umbilical cords and fat tissue. These cells help promote the function of other stem cells throughout the body.
Neural Stem Cells (NSCs)
Neural stem cells are specialized stem cells that can repair the myelin in the brain. These cells can come from other stem cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells.
How Can Stem Cell Therapy Manage MS Symptoms?
Stem cell therapy can modulate the immune system, temporarily disabling the abnormal attacks on myelin tissue. When the immune system is no longer destroying healthy myelin cells surrounding nerve fibers, it can help slow the progression of multiple sclerosis conditions and potentially improve symptoms.
When patients receive stem cell therapy to treat their multiple sclerosis, they may experience some of the following benefits:
- Reduction of muscle spasticity
- Increased energy
- Improved balance
- Enhanced concentration
- Decrease in visual disturbances
- Improved range of motion
- Reduction of muscle pain
While stem cell therapy has the potential to manage MS symptoms, it is still considered an experimental treatment and can not guarantee a cure. Although stem cell therapy is not FDA approved, there has been research to suggest it is safe and patients result in positive outcomes. Patients must have realistic expectations when choosing regenerative medicine for multiple sclerosis but it may be an option worth exploring. If you are interested in learning more about how Stem cells can help patients with MS, contact us today and speak with a care coordinator.