Medical research has shown stem cells have enormous potential to keep us healthy and aid in healing. Millions of back pain sufferers can finally find pain relief with stem cell treatment. A local injection of stem cells could become the crucial tool for eliminating the use of opioids, the standard of care that is currently killing thousands of patients.
Overdoses, from prescription opioids, have increased dramatically during the last 2 decades. Opioid use is a global problem and in the United States, it has been declared a national emergency. In 2015 alone, opioids accounted for 33,000 deaths. These deaths are a result of people becoming addicted after being prescribed drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone or methadone to relieve pain such as lower back pain.
Stem cell treatment is a safe and effective alternative and could be the answer to this global emergency. Adult Stem Cells can be injected into a patient´s damaged discs between the vertebrae of the spine, improving pain management and regenerating damaged cells.
Stem cells work by decreasing inflammation and secreting growth factors that help rebuild damaged tissue. In experimental clinical studies using animals, researchers in Australia, showed stem cells had the ability to completely rebuilt damaged vertebral discs. Scientists are now evaluating their use in humans.
“In 100 patients, we’ve shown substantial improvements in function and pain relief that last two years or more,” says Silviu Itescu of the firm Mesoblast in Melbourne, Australia. “If we’re successful in a larger trial that is currently under way, we can hopefully keep people away from opioids,” says Itescu.
Stem cells are being tested specifically for degenerative disc disease, which represents around 20% of cases of chronic lower back pain. Spinal discs are soft, compressible discs that separate the interlocking bones that make up the spine. The discs act as shock absorbers for the spine, allowing it to flex, bend, and twist. Degenerative disc disease can take place throughout the spine, but most often occurs in the discs in the lower back (lumbar region) or neck (cervical region). Disc injury can also trigger inflammation that further aggravates the condition.
For approximately half of the treated patients, one injection of stem cells could be enough to eliminate back pain for two years, according to Itescu investigators. Some patients have been free of pain for three years. Half of those treated became more mobile, dropping 15 points on a 100-point “disability” scale. These preliminary results were presented at the annual meeting of the US Spine Intervention Society in New Orleans in August. The researcher will share more details of the study at the Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference in New York at the end of November, 2018.
Stem cells are extracted from the bone marrow of donors, and then grown in the lab to create larger amounts for treatment. Because they are autologous stem cells (meaning that they are taken from patient´s own cells) immunosuppressant drugs are not needed.
After the extraction of the patient´s bone marrow, the contents is placed in a centrifuge to separate the stem cells which are then activated, and injected into the space around a damaged disc. Once the stem cells are injected in the damaged zone, they re-inflate the damaged vertebral discs that have dried out, cracked, and lost their strength. The stem cells act by decreasing inflammation and trapping water around the disc.
In August of this year, President Trump declared the US opioid crisis a National Emergency. However, the opioid problem is not restricted to the US; the United Kingdom and Australia are also seeing a substantial increase in codeine-related deaths.
Stem cells unlike opioids offer a potential curative therapy that not only treat pain, but can also improve a patient’s quality of life. The use of opioids can ultimately cause a person far more harm than it provides benefit. The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica cares about every individual patient. We want to help you by ensuring you have access to the most up to date information regarding the advances in stem cell therapy.
Contact us today for more information.