Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases with Stem Cells
With stem cell therapy, the progression of autoimmune diseases can be slowed down and regressed, and even stopped completely. The success rate of the treatment is proportional to the patient's age, the duration of the disease and the patient's condition.
- The treatment of autoimmune diseases with stem cells is recognized as a new method that scientists are working on.
- Stem cells have the ability to turn into the cells of damaged organs when they touch the damaged organs, and that being the case, they are used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
- The number of cells to be administered is determined according to the age and weight of the patient. Treatment is carried out using mesenchymal stem cells (derived from the patient's own adipose tissue or bone marrow) or fetal stem cells.
- The treatment of the patient is decided according to the condition of the patient. It can be performed in 3 sessions 45 days apart or in 3 consecutive days. They are administered intravenously (by vascular access).
- The treatment protocol is precisely adjusted according to the patient's condition and a different protocol may be applied for each patient.
- The success rate of the treatment is proportional to the patient's age and the duration of the disease. If the disease has severely progressed, stem cell therapy may need to be repeated more than once. 85% success was achieved in the regression, cessation or complete treatment of the disease. However, 50% of the patients had to repeat the treatment within one year.
What are Autoimmune Diseases?
Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks normal tissues of the body. The immune system normally provides protection against germs, such as bacteria and viruses, and immediately activates the defense cells upon detecting these. In an autoimmune disease, the immune system perceives the body's various tissues and organs, such as joints and skin, as foreign. For example, type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease, attacks pancreatic cells and rheumatoid arthritis joints.
The immune system is designed to protect our body against microbial invaders such as bacteria and viruses. When it works properly, the immune system detects these microbial foreign bodies and sends a defensive force of warrior cells to encircle and kill them. A healthy immune system knows the difference between foreign invaders and the body's own cells, organs and “good” microorganisms.
Most common autoimmune diseases
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease caused by the immune system attacking the joints. This attack leads to inflammation in the joints with pain, redness, swelling and increased temperature. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease and tends to begin in 30s.
Lupus is caused by the immune system's perception of many tissues and organs of the body as foreign. It affects a great deal of organs, including the skin, joints, kidneys, brain and heart. Joint pain, weakness and skin rashes are the most common symptoms.
The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. As a result, insulin cannot be produced in the body, which leads to high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar damages various organs and tissues such as blood vessels, heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves.
In Hashimato's disease, the thyroid gland is affected and thyroid hormone production is reduced. Its symptoms include weight gain, intolerance to heat and cold, fatigue, hair loss, and goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland).
Skin cells normally grow and shed when they are no longer needed. Psoriasis causes skin cells to multiply very quickly. Excess skin cells produced create plaque or patchy red rashes on the skin covered with white scales.
In Sjögren syndrome, the immune system attacks joints and lachrymal and salivary glands. The most important symptoms of Sjogren syndrome are joint pain, dry eye and mouth.
Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)
Familial Mediterranean fever is a genetic autoimmune disease that causes recurrent fever and painful inflammation of the abdomen, lungs and joints. Joint pain, swelling, skin rashes and muscle pain are among other important symptoms. Familial Mediterranean fever is caused by a gene mutation that transmits from parents to children.
Ankylosing spondylitis is an autoimmune disease affecting the spine. Spine bones (vertebrae) adhere to each other, creating movement limitation in the spine. These changes may be mild or severe and result in a hunched posture.
Behçet's disease is an autoimmune rheumatic disease characterized by sores in the mouth or genital region, redness and swelling of the eyes, inflammation of the joints, skin and digestive system problems.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that occurs when the immune system attacks the protective myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells. Damage to the myelin sheath affects the transmission of messages between the brain and the body. This damage leads to symptoms such as drowsiness, weakness, balance problems and difficulty in walking.
Hypersensitivity to gluten, which is a protein that exists in cereal products such as barley, wheat, and rye, is seen in celiac patients. The immune system, which attacks gluten, also damages the wall of the small intestine and causes inflammation. Diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting are among the symptoms of this disease.
What are the symptoms of autoimmune diseases?
There are more than 80 known autoimmune diseases and some have very similar symptoms. This makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose whether or not the patient actually has one of these diseases or which one of them they have.
The prominent symptom of an autoimmune disease is inflammation that causes pain, redness, increased temperature, and swelling. Early symptoms of many autoimmune diseases are similar and may include:
- Muscle ache
- Low body temperature
- Lack of attention
- Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
- Hair loss
- Skin rashes
- Swelling of joints and other tissues
In addition, each disease may have its own symptoms as well. For example, Type 1 diabetes leads to excessive thirst, weight loss and urination, inflammatory bowel disease, abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea.
In some autoimmune diseases, such as psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis, the symptoms gradually worsen or disappear.
Causes of Autoimmune Diseases
The cause of autoimmune diseases is not precisely known, but it is thought to be a common result of genetic and environmental factors. These diseases are more common in women than in men.
Some autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and lupus show familial transmission. Not all family members have the same disease, but there is a predisposition to other autoimmune diseases.
Due to the increasing incidence of autoimmune diseases with each passing day, researchers suspect that environmental factors such as infections, exposure to chemicals or solvents may also be a factor. Eating foods with high fat and sugar or processed foods can cause an immune response and cause inflammation and may trigger some autoimmune diseases. According to another theory called hygiene hypothesis, children are not exposed to germs as much as in the past because of vaccines and antiseptics. This results in the immune system overreacting to harmless substances.
Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases
Treatments administered cannot treat autoimmune diseases but can control overactive immune response and reduce inflammation. There are also treatments to alleviate symptoms such as pain, swelling, fatigue, and skin rash. With a special diet and regular exercise, patients feel themselves much better.
Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases with Stem Cells
Stem cells have the ability to turn into the cells of damaged organs when they touch the damaged organs, and that being the case, they are used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. It also treats damaged nerves and muscles in a similar manner. In this way, they may slow the progression of the disease, completely stop it or make it regress. If the disease has severely progressed, treatment may need to be applied more than once. The success rate of the treatment is proportional to the patient's age, the duration of the disease and the patient's condition.
This treatment can be administered at our GenCell Stem Cell Treatment Center in Kiev, Ukraine.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who is most likely to have Autoimmune Diseases?
Autoimmune diseases are more frequent in women than in men with a ratio of 2 to 1. This means that 6.4% of women and 2.7% of men may be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. In addition, there is a relationship between autoimmunity and women of childbearing age. Women are often diagnosed between the ages of 14-44. Some autoimmune disorders are more likely to affect certain ethnic groups or families. Consuming high-fat, high-sugar, highly processed and heat-treated foods, also known as “Western” nutrition, can lead to autoimmunity and inflammation by creating an immune response and/or increasing harmful bacteria and microbes in the intestines.
What tests are used to diagnose Autoimmune Diseases?
Most autoimmune diseases cannot be diagnosed with a single test. Doctors combine the physical examination findings with the diagnostic tests to diagnose such diseases.
The antinuclear antibody test (ANA) is usually the first test to be performed when symptoms indicate an autoimmune disease. A positive test result means that the person probably has one of these diseases, but it cannot be determined exactly which one.
Other tests are performed to look for specific auto antibodies produced in the blood in certain autoimmune diseases. In addition, tests can be performed to detect inflammation produced by these diseases in the body as well.
What is recommended for Autoimmune Diseases?
Regulating the intestinal flora should be the first step. It is very important to balance and regulate intestinal bacteria. It is also necessary to detect and regulate heavy metal accumulation in the patient. Heavy metal levels can be checked in of the large centers which carry out such examinations only a few days a week. Reducing chronic stress and adding exercise to the patient's life is also very important in these diseases.
Almost all autoimmune diseases are known to be somehow related to nutrition, that's why the patient's diet must be regulated to overcome the autoimmune disease process.
It is essential to prefer fermented foods, to consume antioxidant-rich and fresh foods, to reduce dairy products, to consume anti-inflammatory foods, and not to consume sugar-containing foods (including fruits) and any packed foods.
It is also recommended to avoid soy products, alcohol, legumes, seed oils (such as canola, sunflower, corn), nuts (may be consumed in very limited amounts) and gluten-containing foods which has allergen and immune stimulant properties.
- Parekkadan B, Milwid JM: Mesenchymal stem cells as therapeutics. Annu Rev Biomed Eng 2010, 12:87-117
- García-Gómez I, Elvira G, Zapata AG, Lamana ML, Ramírez M, Castro JG, Arranz MG, Vicente A, Bueren J, García-Olmo D: Mesenchymal stem cells: biological properties and clinical applications. Expert Opin Biol Ther 2010, 10:1453-1468.
- Ra JC, Shin IS, Kim SH, Kang SK, Kang BC, Lee HY, Kim YJ, Jo JY, Yoon EJ, Choi HJ, Kwon E: Safety of intravenous infusion of human adipose tissue- derived mesenchymal stem cells in animals and humans. Stem Cells Dev 2011, 20(8):1295-6.
- Jo JY, Kang SK, Choi IS, Ra JC: Comparison of neural cell differentiation of human adipose mesenchymal stem cells derived from young and old ages. Devel Reprod 2009, 13:227-237.
- Pittenger MF, Mackay AM, Beck SC, Jaiswal RK, Douglas R, Mosca JD, Moorman MA, Simonetti DW, Craig S, Marshak DR: Multilineage potential of adult human mesenchymal stem cells. Science 1999, 284:143-147.
- Jiang Y, Jahagirdar BN, Reinhardt RL, Schwartz RE, Keene CD, Ortiz- Gonzalez XR, Reyes M, Lenvik T, Lund T, Blackstad M, Du J, Aldrich S, Lisberg A, Low WC, Largaespada DA, Verfaillie CM: Pluripotency of mesenchymal stem cells derived from adult marrow. Nature 2002, 418:41-49.
- Lee OK, Kuo TK, Chen WM, Lee KD, Hsieh SL, Chen TH: Isolation of multipotent mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord blood. Blood 2004, 103:1669-1675.
- Nauta AJ, Fibbe WE: Immunomodulatory properties of mesenchymal stromal cells. Blood 2007, 110:3499-3506.
- Yañez R, Lamana ML, García-Castro J, Colmenero I, Ramírez M, Bueren JA: Adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells have in vivo immunosuppressive properties applicable for the control of the graft- versus-host disease. Stem Cells 2006, 24:2582-2591.
- Zappia E, Casazza S, Pedemonte E, Benvenuto F, Bonanni I, Gerdoni E, Giunti D, Ceravolo A, Cazzanti F, Frassoni F, Mancardi G, Uccelli A: Mesenchymal stem cells ameliorate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis inducing T-cell anergy. Blood 2005, 106:1755-1761.