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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a serious disorder of the nervous system that is virtually impossible to cure. Current therapy protocols are aimed at slowing down the progression of symptoms and improving the quality, as well as the duration, of the patient’s life. One of the most promising treatments for MS is considered to be the use of stem cells. Read more about how their mechanism works and what results doctors can achieve today.

 

 

How do stem cells work in multiple sclerosis?

лечение рассеянного склероза стволовыми клетками

In patients with multiple sclerosis, stem cell transplantation has the potential to counteract inflammatory processes, restore the myelin layer of neurons and thereby inhibit the progression of the disease.

 

To understand how it works, it is necessary to discuss the mechanism of multiple sclerosis. It is a neurodegenerative autoimmune disease in which the body begins to attack its tissues, in particular, the nerve cells The destruction of their outer myelin layer by the disease impairs the transmission of electronic impulses. Depending on the location of the inflammation, it can cause various neurological symptoms – muscle spasms, fatigue, loss of vision, limb numbness, etc.

 

Stem cells are unique in that they can transform into any type of cell in the body. The drugs that doctors are working on allowing them to be modified so that they specifically heal the damaged areas of myelin and protect them from further damage.

 

For the treatment of relapsing-remitting MS, the FDA and other organizations have approved several types of classic drugs (DMTs). They work on the principle of suppressing the immune system by slowing down neuronal myelin damage. However, unlike stem cells, their main limitation is that they cannot repair the damage already done, so they may not be effective for some patients with progressing MS.

Treatment of multiple sclerosis with stem cells is still in the early stages of research. Doctors are conducting clinical trials, researching the efficacy and safety of the drugs, as well as treatment protocols. Because of this, this method is not available in most clinics – even those that specialize in multiple sclerosis. Only the most qualified and experienced medical centres, officially certified to work with stem cells, can guarantee the effectiveness and safety of this treatment.

 

    Among all available options of stem cell therapy, transplantation of autologous mesenchymal stem cells remains the only method with proven efficacy. They are harvested from the patient’s blood. In particular, this therapy has the approval of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) in the United States.

 

There are two mechanisms of action when treating multiple sclerosis with stem cells:

 

    иконка галочки The process of stem cell transplantation involves suppression of the immune system, making it incapable of an autoimmune response.  

    иконка галочки Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation “resets” the patient’s immune system. The number of pathological T-lymphocytes prone to attack neurons drops.  

Autologous mesenchymal stem cell transplantation is a one-time procedure that can significantly reduce and potentially eliminate MS activity in some people. That said, the treatment has certain risks, including serious infections. To avoid them, clinics that specialize in stem cell treatments include observation and supportive therapy in treatment packages for all patients.

 

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The process of stem cell transplant for multiple sclerosis

There is no single protocol for treating multiple sclerosis with stem cells. Different clinics may have different approaches in the methods of cell harvesting and processing, as well as the chemotherapy used. MediGlobus cooperates only with international centres, which have the necessary equipment and level of expert training. Specialists in haematology and multiple sclerosis treatment compose an individual treatment plan for each patient that will allow long-term control of the disease without causing unnecessary damage to the body.

 

The initial preparation and collection of stem cells takes from 5 to 15 days. The procedure includes several steps: mobilization, collection, ablation conditioning and mesenchymal cell transplantation.

 

1

The first stage of treatment is the collection of stem cells. They are usually isolated from the patient’s venous blood. Before the procedure, the patient may be injected with special medications that stimulate the growth of granulocyte cells. The resulting product is processed, frozen, and stored until the transplantation stage.

2

In the second stage, doctors are faced with the task of destroying the cells attacking the patient’s neurons. Various chemotherapy protocols can be used for this purpose. The aggressiveness of the drugs depends on the severity of the disease and the patient’s tolerance to the drugs. This phase, along with the subsequent recovery, may last up to 3 weeks.

3

At the third stage, mesenchymal stem cells multiplied in the laboratory are injected into the body in large numbers. They take the place of the previous, defective cells, and “restart” the patient’s immune system.

4

During the period in which the stem cells take root in the body, the patient is left with a weakened immune system. To prevent infections and other complications, doctors keep patients in sterile rooms with HEPA antibacterial air filters and administer preventive therapy. Also during this stage, a large number of tests and examinations (including blood tests and MRIs) are performed to make sure that the transplant is successful and without complications from the body.

 

During the first 2 years after stem cell transplantation in multiple sclerosis, regular check-ups are necessary. Every six months, and at least once a year thereafter, patients should have an MRI scan. Due to low immunity, they also need to be in isolation for a while after the procedure, wear a mask and stay away from other people to reduce the risk of infections.

How effective is the treatment of multiple sclerosis with stem cells?

Research into the effectiveness of stem cell transplantation in multiple sclerosis continues. Doctors are searching for the most productive treatment protocols. The results of available research indicate the potential of the procedure, but do not guarantee the same results for each patient.

    A 2021 study conducted jointly by the Cleveland Clinic and Stanford University showed that injections of mesenchymal stem cells into the spinal canal every 2 months had a positive effect on patients with advanced multiple sclerosis. Sixty-seven percent of patients saw improvements in thinking, vision, and mobility.

    A 2017 Cleveland Clinic study showed that intravenous injection of stem cells can not only inhibit autoimmune mechanisms of multiple sclerosis but also activate the regeneration of myelin sheath neurons.

Over the past 20 years, the safety of stem cell therapy has increased significantly. For comparison, while in 1995 the mortality rate of patients during the procedure was 7.3%, in 2016 this figure dropped to 0.2%.

 

In particular, stem cell transplantation for multiple sclerosis is considered safe and effective under these conditions:

 

    иконка галочки The patient is under 50 years;  

    иконка галочки Multiple sclerosis was diagnosed less than 10 years ago;  

    иконка галочки Relapsing-remitting MS type;  

    иконка галочки Previous treatment with DMTs did not have the expected effect;  

    иконка галочки The patient has no severe comorbidities (e.g., heart or lung defects).  

трансплантация стволовых клеток при рассеянном склерозе

What prospects for the use of stem cells in MS are being explored today?

Several types of stem cells, such as autologous hematopoietic (aHSC), mesenchymal (MSC), neuronal (NSC), embryonic (hESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are being considered for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Some studies are at the stage of animal testing, while others, confirmed to be safe, are being conducted on patients with multiple sclerosis at leading institutes around the world.

 

стволовые клетки при рассеянном склерозе

Different types of stem cells can have a variety of positive effects on the neurons of multiple sclerosis patients:

 

    иконка галочки “Reboot” the immune system to slow or stop MS activity.  

    иконка галочки Slow down the activity of the disease and repair damage to the nervous system directly with stem cells that can replace the cells that produce myelin.  

    иконка галочки Stimulate the brain’s natural ability to repair itself.  

 

One interesting area that is in the early stages of research is treatment with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The source of the stem cells here is not blood or bone marrow, but human skin.

STEM CELL THERAPY CENTER APPOINTMENT

Contact MediGlobus coordinators and we will advise you on experienced specialists in autologous stem cell transplantation. We will help you contact the doctor and make full travel arrangements, including transfers, lodging and translator.

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Which clinics perform stem cell transplants for multiple sclerosis?

As a new treatment for a serious disease such as multiple sclerosis, stem cell transplantation is performed only in the most experienced and qualified medical centres. When choosing clinics, there are several questions to ask to protect your health and to be sure that you will get the help you need.

 

    иконка галочки Does the clinic have national or international certificates confirming its qualifications in the collection, storage and processing of stem cells?  

    иконка галочки Does the centre have experience working with multiple sclerosis patients? What specialists are part of the treatment team?  

    иконка галочки What type of cells will be used for the procedure?  

    иконка галочки What procedures are used to ensure that the cells are sanitary and free of contaminants and infectious agents?  

    иконка галочки Is immediate and long-term follow-up care available?  

 

Based on the quality of treatment, care and cost of procedures, the MediGlobus team can recommend the following medical institutions:

 

    Liv Ulus Clinic in Turkey  

    Read about the clinic →


    How effective is stem cell treatment for multiple sclerosis?  

    Liv Center for Regenerative Medicine in Istanbul is No. 1 in the country for quality in-hospital standards of care. It is GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certified and licensed by the Turkish Ministry of Health. It has 2 production areas, 1 cell storage area, 4 quality control areas. The hospital works with patients suffering from neurological ailments.

    Cellthera Clinic in the Czech Republic  

    Read about the clinic →


    клиника селтера cellthera  

    Cellthera is one of the strongest specialized stem cell centres in Europe. It is certified by the International Consortium for Cell Therapy and Immunotherapy ICCTI and GMP. The team of doctors with more than 20 years of experience in medicine is headed by the internationally renowned Professor Jaroslav Michalek. The Cellthera Clinic is experienced in treating patients with multiple sclerosis.

Price of stem cell transplantation for multiple sclerosis

CountryCost
флаг турции Turkeyfrom $15,000
CountryCost
чехия флаг лечениеThe Czech Republicfrom €14,000

Reviews for multiple sclerosis treatment with stem cells

Patrick Van Benthem from the United Kingdom is one of the patients who received treatment for multiple sclerosis with stem cells and was very pleased with the results. The man was diagnosed with primary progressive MS at the age of 47, and for the first 8-9 years the disease developed very slowly. Over time, however, the symptoms began to rapidly increase, and Patrick had to leave his job and go to his primary care physician for help. He had an MRI scan and was suggested to undergo stem cell therapy. Unfortunately, this procedure was not available in Britain due to the stage of his disease, so the man approached foreign clinics.

 

At the time Patrick began treatment, his MS was quickly progressing. Because of the disease, the man could not walk or drive on his own, and he experienced constant pain and tingling in his hands and feet.

 

Fortunately, the stem cells had a very strong effect. The therapy not only stopped the progress of the disease but also helped restore some of the motor functions and restore Patrick’s independence and self-confidence.

лечение рассеянного склероза стволовыми клетками отзывы

 

Here’s what he says about the treatment: “A lot of people with MS think that nothing can help their situation. I know that stem cell therapy won’t work for everyone, because the disease is different for everyone, there are no guarantees. But if you have the opportunity to get treatment, my advice is don’t pass it up.”

 

    Summary

    иконка галочкиMultiple sclerosis is a severe degenerative autoimmune disease that destroys the myelin layer of the nerves. Patients with this diagnosis suffer from a variety of symptoms – loss of vision, mobility, numbness and pain in the extremities, etc. 

    иконка галочкиTreatment methods for multiple sclerosis are aimed at controlling symptoms and slowing down the development of the disease. The most progressive approach is stem cell therapy. It is not indicated for all patients, however, it is the only method that has the potential not only to stop the progression of the disease but also to restore the affected areas of neurons. 

    иконка галочкиStem cell therapy is a very new technology, and it is carried out only in the most experienced and quality medical centres. Among them, MediGlobus can recommend Liv Ulus Clinic in Turkey and Cellthera in the Czech Republic. Both hospitals are GMP certified and have experience in treating neurological ailments with stem cell transplants. The cost of such therapy starts at $15,000. 

If you still have questions about multiple sclerosis treatment with stem cells, or you would like to receive individual recommendations for treatment abroad, please leave a request on our website. Our medical coordinators will call you back within an hour to help you with your concerns.

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Sources :

  1. 1. National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  2. 2. Digital Experience: Phase 2 safety and efficacy study of intrathecal MSC-NTF cells in progressive multiple sclerosis
  3. 3. National Institute of Healthcare: Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) Transplantation in MS
  4. 4. Biomedicines: Stem Cell-Based Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis: Current Perspectives


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