What are stem cells?
Stem cells are unprogrammed cells in the human body that can be described as “shape shifters.” These cells have the ability to change or “differentiate” into other types of cells. Stem cells are at the center of a new field of science called regenerative medicine. Because stem cells can become neurons, bone, muscle, cartilage and other specialized types of cells, they have the potential to treat many diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and more.
How do stem cells work in patients with Parkinson’s disease?
The majority of complications in Parkinson’s patients are related to the failure of dopamine neurons to do their job properly. Dopamine sends signals to the part of your brain that controls movement. It lets your muscles move smoothly and do what you want them to do. One new stem cell treatment using fat cells could repair any tissue in the body.
In a world first, Australian scientists have figured out how to reprogram adult bone or fat cells to form stem cells that could potentially regenerate any damaged tissue in the body.
The researchers were inspired by the way salamanders are able to replace lost limbs and developed a technique that gives adult cells the ability to lose their adult characteristics, multiply and regenerate multiple cell types – what is known as multipotency. That means the new stem cells can hypothetically repair any injury in the body, from severed spinal cords to joint and muscle degeneration. And it’s a pretty big deal because there are currently no adult stem cells that naturally regenerate multiple tissue types.
“This technique is a significant advance on many of the current unproven stem cell therapies, which have shown little or no objective evidence they contribute directly to new tissue formation,” said lead researcher John Pimanda from the University of New South Wales, Faculty of Medicine (UNSW Medicine). “We are currently assessing whether adult human fat cells reprogrammed into [induced multipotent stem cells (iMS cells)] can safely repair damaged tissue in mice, with human trials expected to begin in late 2017.”
Right now, although it’s an exciting and much-hyped field of study, stem cell therapy still has a number of limitations, primarily because the most useful cells are embryonic stem cells, which are taken from developing embryos and have the potential to become any cell type in the body. But they also have the tendency to form tumors and cannot be transplanted directly to regenerate adult cells.
Instead, researchers are able to use tissue-specific adult cells, which can only turn into the cell types in their region of the body – for example, lung stem cells can only differentiate into lung tissue, so they’re not as versatile as scientists need.
Scientists have also worked out how to reprogram regular adult stem cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) – a type of stem cell that’s even more flexible than multipotent stem cells, but requires the use of viruses in order for the cells to be ‘reset’, which isn’t ideal to help treat patients. That’s why the new research is so exciting.
“Embryonic stem cells cannot be used to treat damaged tissues because of their tumor forming capacity,” said one of the researchers, Vashe Chandrakanthan. “The other problem when generating stem cells is the requirement to use viruses to transform cells into stem cells, which is clinically unacceptable.”
“We believe we’ve overcome these issues with this new technique.”
To create the new type of stem cells, the researchers collected adult human bone and fat cells and treated them with two compounds: 5-Azacytidine (AZA); and platelet-derived growth factor-AB (PDGF-AB) for two days.
This kick-started the process of dedifferentiation – which basically means it started to revert them to a multipotent stem cell state. The cells were then kept in PDGF-AB for a few weeks while they slowly changed into stem cells, eventually becoming tissue-regenerative iMS cells – which basically means they can repair any type of tissue in the body.
“This technique is ground-breaking because iMS cells regenerate multiple tissue types,” said Pimanda. “We have taken bone and fat cells, switched off their memory and converted them into stem cells so they can repair different cell types once they are put back inside the body.”
Right now, this process is only a proof of concept, but the researchers are already on their way to furthering the technique and are currently investigating if human iMS cells can be transformed and repair tissue damage in mice.
The researchers also want to look into how the cells act at the sites of transplantation. If all goes well, human trials are expected for late 2017.
The first trials will focus on whether the iMS cells can heal bone, joint, and muscle tissue, helping to improve treatment for chronic back pain and injuries.
This research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As the nerve cells break down you no longer have enough dopamine, and you have trouble moving and completing tasks.
This stem cell treatment is designed to target these neurons and to help with the creation of new dopamine-producing neurons. In addition, stem cells may release natural chemicals called cytokines which can induce differentiation of the stem cells into dopamine-producing neurons.
- Patients who receive stem cell therapy may report improvements in one of more disease-related complications such as:
- Primary Motor Symptoms
- Resting Tremor:– Slight tremor (shaking or oscillating movement) in the hand or foot on one side of the body, or in the jaw or face and usually appears when a person’s muscles are relaxed, or at rest (not performing an action).
- Bradykinesia:– Bradykinesia (slow movement) A general reduction of spontaneous movement, which can give the appearance of abnormal stillness and a decrease in facial expressivity. Causes difficulty with repetitive movements and performing everyday functions, such as buttoning a shirt, cutting food or brushing teeth, walking with short, shuffling steps, affect on one’s speech; quieter and less distinct, drooling and excess saliva result from reduced swallowing movements.
- Rigidity:– Rigidity causes stiffness and inflexibility of the limbs, neck, and trunk. The muscle tone of an affected limb is always stiff and does not relax, sometimes contributing to a decreased range of motion. Rigidity can be uncomfortable or even painful and inhibits the swinging of arms when walking.
- Postural Instability:– Postural Instability (a tendency to be unstable when standing upright) is caused by uncontrollable reflexes needed for maintaining an upright posture that can cause particular difficulty when pivoting or making turns or quick movements. It can also cause retropulsion (a dangerous tendency to sway backward when rising from a chair, standing or turning).
- Secondary Motor Symptoms
- Freezing– Freezing of gait; hesitation before stepping forward is a manifestation of akinesia (poverty of spontaneous movement). The feeling as if their feet are glued to the floor can increase a person’s risk of falling forward.
- Micrographia– Micrographia (shrinkage in handwriting). This occurs as a result of bradykinesia (slow movement) and hypokinesia (which refer to the fact that, in addition to being slow, the movements are also smaller than desired).
- Mask-like Expression– Face appearing less expressive than usual is a manifestation of akinesia (poverty of spontaneous movement [e.g. in facial expression]).
- Unwanted Accelerations– Unwanted Acceleration is the experience of movements that are too quick causing tachyphemia (excessively fast speech) and festination (an uncontrollable acceleration in gait).
- Stooped posture– A tendency to lean forward.
- Dystonia– A neurological movement disorder, in which sustained muscle contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures.
- Impaired fine motor dexterity and motor coordination– Encompass the abilities required to control the smaller muscles of the body for writing, playing an instrument, artistic expression, and craft work.
- Impaired gross motor coordination– Abilities required in order to control the large muscles of the body for walking, running, sitting, crawling, and other activities.
- Speech problems– Such as softness of voice or slurred speech caused by lack of muscle control.
- Difficulty swallowing– Dysphagia.
- Sexual dysfunction– Difficulty experienced during sexual activity, including physical pleasure, desire, preference, arousal or orgasm.
- Cramping– Neural sensations caused by muscle contraction or overshortening.
- Drooling– Sialorrhea (the flow of saliva outside the mouth).
- Akinesia– Poverty of spontaneous movement.
- Hypokinesia– Movements that are slow as well as smaller than desired.
- Nonmotor Symptoms– Many researchers believe that nonmotor symptoms may precede motor symptoms — and a Parkinson’s diagnosis — by years. The most recognizable early symptoms include:
- Anosmia– loss of sense of smell
- Dyschezia– constipation
- REM behavior disorder– parasomnia, a sleep disorder
- Mood disorders– Depression, bipolar disorder, dysthymic disorder and cyclothymic disorder.
- Orthostatic hypotension– Sudden fall in blood pressure upon standing
- Other Nonmotor Symptoms
- Excessive saliva
- Weight loss
- Weight gain
- Vision problems
- Dental problems
- Fear and anxiety
- Skin problems
- Cognitive issues
- Sleep disturbances
- Bladder problems
- Sexual problems
- Primary Motor Symptoms
The important thing to remember is that most ethical and high-end Stemcell clinic never claim they can cure Parkinsons but what they most certainly can do assist in the quality of life of those suffering from Parkinsons .
What is stem cell therapy and how does it work?
Stem cell therapy is an intervention strategy that introduces new adult stem cells into damaged tissue in order to treat disease or injury. Many medical researchers believe that stem cell treatments have the potential to change the face of human disease and alleviate suffering. The ability of stem cells to self-renew and give rise to subsequent generations with variable degrees of differentiation capacities, offers significant potential for generation of tissues that can potentially replace diseased and damaged areas in the body, with minimal risk of rejection and side effects.
What are the different types of stem cells?
There are four known types of stem cells:
- Adult Stem Cells– derived from the adult human body. The use of adult stem cells in research and therapy is not as controversial as the use of embryonic stem cells because the production of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of an embryo. Additionally, in instances where adult stem cells are obtained from the intended recipient, the risk of rejection is essentially non-existent. Consequently, more US government funding is being provided for adult stem cell research. This is why StemGenex Medical Group offers stem cell studies using Adult stem cells only.
- Embryonic Stem Cells– derived from embryos. These cells require specific signals to differentiate to the desired cell type. If they are simply injected directly, they will differentiate into many different types of cells, resulting in a tumor derived from this abnormal pluripotent cell development (a teratoma). The directed differentiation of ES cells and avoidance of transplant rejection are just two of the hurdles that ES cell researchers still face.
WWW.STEMCELL-INFORMATION.COM does not promote the use embryonic stemcells.
- Fetal Stem Cells – derived from aborted fetuses, have developed further than embryonic stem cells and are a little more specialized – their options are slightly more limited. However, they can still produce most types of cell in the body.
WWW.STEMCELL-INFORMATION.COM does not promote the use of Fetal Stemcell
- Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs)– from some parts of the human body. These stem cells are engineered from older, fully specialized cells – for example, skin cells, which are limited naturally to being only skin cells. Scientists encourage these limited cells to act like embryonic stem cells again, with the ability to become any type of human cell. This is a complex technique that has only recently been developed and is the subject of much ongoing research.
WWW.STEMCELL-INFORMATION.COM does not promote the use induced pluripotent stem cells.
Why use adipose (fat) derived stem cells?
- Adipose (fat) tissue contains a concentrated amount of cells known as mesenchymal stem cells which are capable of replication or becoming different types of cells throughout the body such as neurons, bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon, etc…
- The advantage of using mesenchymal stem cells from your adipose fat is that they are one of the richest sources of stem cells in the body (2500 times more stem cells reside in fat vs. bone marrow) and they are very easy to harvest via a mini-liposuction procedure.
- Adipose-derived stem cells also have a much higher immunomodulatory capacity than those of bone marrow derived stem cells which can greatly benefit patients with auto-immune conditions.
- Adipose-derived stem cell treatments are autologous meaning they are derived from the patient’s own body. Numerous studies have been done showing the safety and efficacy of autologous stem cell therapy throughout the years.
How are the stem cells administered back into Parkinson’s patients ?
These treatments consist of multiple ways to deliver the highest amount of activated stem cells to the areas patients need them most. When Parkinson’s patients are treated there are multiple ways they can be administered:
- Full body IV– directed into the vein
- Direct site injections– injected directly into the site that needs repair, i.e., muscles and tendons
What can I expect after my stem cell treatment if I suffer from Parkinsons?
After the procedure, there will be minimal discomfort in the abdominal area with soreness and bruising lasting anywhere from 1 week to 2 weeks. We recommend patients relax and receive as much rest as possible to give their stem cells a chance to heal.
How long would it take to see improvement?
This is one of the most common and important questions a patient can ask. Keep in mind that every patient who receives any type of medical procedure will react differently to their treatment. Patients who have received stem cell therapy generally see the full culmination or their results from almost immediately to a few months later. Some patients have taken up to 6 months before seeing the full effect of the treatment.
How long does the stem cell treatment take?
A patient’s visit for stem cell treatment lasts for only 3 days. The first day will be a new patient orientation followed by a pre-op consultation with the treating physician. The very next morning the patients will begin their stem cell treatment which will last roughly 4-5 hours in length. They will then return back to the center on the third day for a post-op consultation before returning home. This is a minimally invasive 1-day procedure so patients are back in their hotel room each night with their families.
Will I need to return regularly for follow-ups?
For the best results Normally the treatment is done once and then can be redone 6 to 8 months later, followed by one further treatment anther 8 months later
What type of complications have been observed in patients?
Minimal bruising and soreness are the only complications observed due to the fat biopsy procedure. Normally this will last anywhere from 1-2 weeks.
Can this type of stem cell treatment cause cancer?
Adult Mesenchymal stem cells are not known to cause cancer. There have been reported cases of cancerous tumors known as teratomas forming when using embryonic cells. However these procedures are not recommended by www.stemcell-information.com, we only recommend treatment using adult mesenchymal stem cells, not embryonic.
Am I a candidate for stem cell therapy?
Strict protocol to determine whether each and every patient is a good candidate or not stem cell therapy. Every patient should undergo a full medical history evaluation to determine their candidacy before being approved for treatment. Providing access to safe and effective stem cell therapy is our absolute goal, therefore, candidacy is determined by keeping these two criteria in mind. www.Stemcell-Information.com can recommend you to a clinic that suits your needs ensuring only the best possible treatments.
How much does stem cell treatment cost?
The cost of each treatment depends on each individual case. In order to learn more regarding the cost for treatment at different clinics that suit your requirements, please contact our customer service dept at firstname.lastname@example.org
Could a stem cell therapy be repeated?
Yes, a stem cell therapy may be repeated. Current studies indicate the strong possibility of a cumulative effect from multiple stem cell therapies a patient received for their condition. Long-term studies will attempt to better understand this in detail.
Could a stem cell therapy be used at the same time as other therapies?
We don’t know yet. This will not be studied in early clinical trials, as this would make it very difficult to measure the true effects of the stem cell therapy. However, a combination therapy may be effective for Parkinson’s Disease and is likely to be studied in the future.