Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic and progressive inflammatory disease that primarily affects the sacroiliac joints and the spine; in rare cases, AS can also cause issues for the peripheral joints and extra-articular organs, including the skin, eyes, and cardiovascular system.
While there are a number of drugs prescribed to treat symptoms associated with AS, there is currently not a cure for AS nor is there a non-pharmaceutical method for treating the condition and its symptoms.
Considering the potent immune-modulated activity and their ability to inhibit B cell differentiation, T cell activation, and proliferation, researchers have increasingly been exploring the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a potential treatment option for a number of autoimmune diseases.
Specifically, Li et al.’s study evaluated 5 patients with AS after receiving intravenous transfusions of uMSCs.
After receiving an intravenous uMSC transfusion, the authors reported lower levels of inflammation, slowed progression of AS, and reduced levels of ESR, CRP, and other specific markers indicative of improved spinal functions and spinal movement in subjects with AS.
Considering these findings, the authors conclude that uMSC transplantation is feasible and safe and induces limited side effects.
The authors of this study also highlight a number of limitations, including the low number of patients, limited statistical analysis, and lack of a control group that did not receive an infusion.
In light of these results, Li et al. call for future studies using a larger cohort of patients with AS to enable the systematic evaluation of uMSC in treating symptoms of AS.
Source: “Infusion of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells alleviates … – NCBI.” 27 Jun. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5526206/.