Adult stem cell cures are rapidly expanding; creating positive outcomes in human diseases which medical science previously thought were incurable. Researchers and doctors are now learning that for these diseases, it was not a substance created outside the body that was needed for cure; it was the technology to harness the body’s own healing power. Thailand stem cell therapies have harnessed that power to some degree, and now researchers are working on applications of the technology for autoimmune patients.
Serious research into the use of human adult stem cells for autoimmune diseases is actually fairly new. One major study that has pushed along thought in the area was performed recently by Dr Burt of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine was actually a review of previous literature. The basic outcome of the study suggested that the disease-remitting effect of stem cells (the hematopoeic, or blood derived variety) is potent for autoimmune disease, at the time there were no randomized trials published. Further, remission duration remained unclear – would this be a permanent ‘healing’ of the human disease, or only a temporary relief?
Now research into adult stem cell cures for autoimmune diseases is gathering steam. Doctors are beginning to look into several diseases particularly as candidates for hematopoeic stem cell transplant trials. Rhematoid arthritis, the adult and juvenile versions, scleroderma, lupus and Crohn’s disease are the likely first candidates for stem cell cures.
Autologous hematopoeic stem cell therapy has been under experimentation as a rheumatoid arthritis treatment since 1996. Currently it is only used on treatment-resistant RA, however, most research indicates that the adult stem cell cure is relatively safe. The therapy works not only on the disease itself, but also helps sensitize the body to conventional drug treatment. A study of RA patients is currently under enrollment, looking at patients who have ‘failed’ at least four of the common disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and have had RA for between 2 and 15 years. However, impetus for the study has decreased in recent times, inversely proportional to the availability of alternative therapies for RA.
Lupus is a difficult disease to pin down, and can be as disturbing to a patient’s quality of life as rheumatoid arthritis. Lupus causes the body’s immune system to turn on its own tissue, causing inflammation and pain. Current treatment is with the same class of drugs as for RA, and just as with the previous illness, there is currently no cure. The NIH is America is currently recruiting lupus patients to undergo a pilot study involving autologous HSCT. As with RA, it is expected that a significant proportion of the treatment’s value may be in sensitizing the body to conventional drug treatment with fludarabine and rituximab. However, the safety of allogenic stem cell transplants for lupus patients is expected to improve, and may be a realistic option before autologous treatment becomes available.
Treatment for Crohn’s Disease with Thailand stem cell therapy is also a future possibility, with a pilot study currently being organized. Funding and enrolment has yet to be arranged, and only the most severe and resistant cases of the disease will be eligible. Scientists expect that mobilization of the body’s own stem cells using both HSCT and drug options will be more useful than actual transplants.