Current investigative therapies for autism attempt to reverse these abnormalities through administration of antibiotics, anti‐inflammatory agents, and hyperbaric oxygen. Unfortunately, none of these approaches address the root causes of oxygen deprivation and intestinal inflammation.
The rationale behind treating autism with umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells is that autism, and its degree of severity, has been significantly correlated inflammatory and neuro-inflammatory cytokines including macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC) and thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC). Intravenous administration of umbilical cord MSCs has been shown in multiple clinical trials to decrease inflammation. Decreasing inflammation in the autistic patient may alleviate symptoms of autism.
Through administration of mesenchymal stem cells, we have observed improvement in patients treated at our facilities.
Mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord are considered to be universal donor cells because they are not immediately recognized as foreign. The cells home to damaged tissue and are known to secrete molecules called trophic factors.
Trophic factors from mesenchymal stem cells are known to stimulate repair of damaged nervous tissue in both the brain and the spinal cord. Some of these are neurotrophic factors that promote neuronal growth, induce new blood vessel growth, neurogenesis and astroglial activation, encourage synaptic connection and axonal remyelination, decrease programed cell death, and regulate microglial activation.1
Mesenchymal stem cells stimulate brain repair after stroke1 and traumatic brain injury.2,3,4
With respect to the heart, stem cells have the ability to not only home into the damaged areas but also to initiate a cascade of biological events which both culminate in healing of the heart muscle. For example, animal studies have demonstrated that stem cell therapy will cause new muscle cells to be formed through stimulation of dormant stem cells that are already inside the heart muscle. In these studies, the administered stem cell also transformed into new heart muscle cells.
At Stem Cell Institute, our stem cell treatment protocol for heart failure involves administration of mesenchymal stem cells harvested from human umbilical cord tissue.
Through administration of mesenchymal stem cells, we have observed improvements in heart failure patients treated at our facilities.
At present there are no treatments that specifically target the abnormal immune responses in MS. Current approaches, such as interferon, copaxone, or immune suppressants all act in a non‐specific manner blocking immune responses against the myelin sheath. While these approaches are useful for reducing the severity of disease, they do not repair the damage to nervous system tissue that has already occurred and therefore they cannot cure multiple sclerosis.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), have immune regulatory properties which may stop the immune system from attacking the myelin sheath.
Mesenchymal stem cells may also potentially help remyelination (re-generation of the myelin sheath) of the affected neurons. Currently, the University of Cambridge is conducting formal clinical studies using mesenchymal stem cells for treatment of MS.
Through administration of umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells, we have observed improvements in multiple sclerosis patients treated at our facilities.
Newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis is currently treated with immune suppressive agents such as steroids, methothrexate, cyclosporine, gold, and more recently infliximab (Remicade). Despite inducing temporary improvement, these approaches possess long-term adverse effects due to non-specific inhibition of immune responses. When disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate are not effective, biologics like abatacept (Orencia), adalimumab (Humira) or etanercept (Enbrel) may be recommended. None of these treatments address the issue of damage that has already occurred to the joints or extra-articular tissues.
Even though advancements in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment protocols and introduction of targeted biological therapies have markedly improved patient outcomes, up to 50% of patients still fail to achieve a significant clinical response.
Stem cell therapy has been demonstrated to induce profound healing activity in animals with various forms of arthritis. For example, the company Vet-Stem routinely utilizes stem cells in horses with various joint deformities to accelerate healing. Besides healing of damaged tissues, stem cells have the unique ability to modulate the immune system so as to shut off pathological responses while preserving ability to fight off disease.
Stem cells and specifically, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) home to inflamed tissue and start producing anti-inflammatory agents. These mediators act locally and do not suppress the immune response of the patient’s whole body. Additionally, MSCs induce the production of T regulatory cells, a type of immune cell whose function is to protect the body against immunological self-attack.
A recent study on MSCs for rheumatoid arthritis (Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis: Safety and Efficacy) showed that MSCs produced a significant decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α, both of which are temporarily targeted by many current RA treatments. – without the long-term side effects. These decreases are shown in Figure 5 from the original publication.
Presently, post-accident care for spinal cord injury patients focuses on extensive physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other rehabilitation therapies; teaching the injured person how to cope with their disability.
A number of published papers and case studies support the feasibility of treating spinal cord injury with allogeneic human umbilical cord tissue-derived stem cells and autologous bone marrow-derived stem cells.
Feasibility of combination allogeneic stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury: Published improvements include improved ASIA scores, improved bladder and/or bowel function, recovered sexual function, and increased muscle control.