Stem Cell Therapy: The Future for Degenerative Spine Disease

Degenerative disease of the lumbar spine is a primary cause of disability worldwide affecting at least 266 million people each year. Degenerative disease of the lumbar spine is an umbrella term used to describe different types of back pain including spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis and disc degeneration.1,2

Degenerative disc disease in a condition in which damage to the spinal disc causes pain that can range from nagging to disabling and is the second leading cause of opioid prescriptions in the United States. For patients with severe degenerative disease, surgery may be considered as a treatment option, but surgery is invasive, risky, costly, and its effectiveness is unclear. For this reason, stem cell therapy is quickly becoming a preferred treatment option.

Current Research

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica, recommends mesenchymal stem cells derived, cultured, and expanded from umbilical cord tissue, for the treatment of degenerative disc disease. A paper published in November, 2018 reviewed all of the current research articles evaluating stem cell therapy for degenerative spine disease.4

The paper, “Cell therapy for intervertebral disc herniation and degenerative disc

disease: clinical trials” published in International Orthopaedics, in November 2018, reported 11 different clinical trials in humans have been conducted using mesenchymal stromal cells harvested from either the umbilical cord, bone marrow or adipose tissue.

The outcomes of the 11 trials showed mesenchymal stem cell therapy to be a safe and effective treatment for degenerative disc disease. Patients reported significant improvement in pain and disability scores. Stem cell therapy resulted in decrease pain and patients showed physiological improvements.

The authors concluded “cell therapy for intervertebral disc regeneration offers a low-risk, low-cost strategy, with potentially long-term effects and are highly anticipated treatments for a large-cohort of patients.”4

Stem Cell Therapy at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica

Stem cell therapy can reduce the symptoms degenerative disc disease including: improve range of motion, reduce inflammation, reduce stiffness, and potentially delay or eliminate the need for surgery; allowing patients to fully engage in the activities they enjoy.

Mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to:

  • Promote self-healing
  • Repair or replace bone or cartilage tissue
  • Have potent anti-inflammatory capabilities
  • Modulate abnormal immune system responses
  • Prevent additional premature cell and tissue damage
  • Reduce scarring
  • Stimulate new blood vessel growth improving blood flow

Stem cell therapy may help patients suffering with DDD that; are not responding adequately to standard drug treatment, cannot tolerate their current recommended treatment, are newly diagnosed, would like to try stem cell therapy before initiating drug treatment, or would like to avoid the risk, pain, and lengthy recovery of surgery.

When stem cells are injected in to the degenerated disc, the cells help stimulate the disc to repair itself. Mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to regulate the immune system response, inhibit inflammation, and repair tissue.3

Research is showing hUC-MSCs to be a better alternative to allogeneic stem cells because of their hypo-immunogenicity, superior tropism, high differentiation potential and paracrine activity.5,6

What are the advantages of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells?

  • Abundant supply containing up to 10 times more stem cells than bone marrow or adipose-derived stem cells
  • hUC-MSC have immunosuppressors and immunomodulatory properties that allow their use in any individual without rejection- Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matching is not necessary
  • Greater proliferation ability than adult autologous stem cells
  • They regenerate at a very rapid rate
  • They have not been impacted by the aging process
  • They have not been affected by environmental toxins
  • Umbilical cord stem cells can be administered multiple times over the course of days
  • Eliminates the need to collect stem cells from the patient’s fat or hip bone reducing pain and recovery time

What is the treatment protocol for DDD at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute?

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute recommends human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of degenerative disc disease.

Treatment includes:

  1. 1cc vial of 120 million mesenchymal stem cells
  2. Antioxidant therapy with vitamin C and glutathione
  3. Ozone therapy
  4. Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP)

Contact us today at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute to learn more about the benefits of stem cell therapy.

Scientific References:

  1. Ravindra VM, Senglaub SS, Rattani A, et al. Degenerative Lumbar Spine Disease: Estimating Global Incidence and Worldwide Volume. Global Spine J. 2018;8(8):784–794. doi:10.1177/2192568218770769
  2. Meucci RD, Fassa AG, FariaNM(2015) Prevalence of chronic low back pain: systematic review. Rev Saude Publica 49:1518–
  3. Pang X, Yang H., Peng B.,”Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell transplantation for the treatment of chronic discogenic low back pain. Pain Physician, 2014, 17(4):E525-E530.
  4. Jordy Schol & Daisuke Sakai, “Cell therapy for intervertebral disc herniation and degenerative disc disease: clinical trials”, Received: 4 October 2018 /Accepted: 29 October 2018 /Published online: 29 November 2018 International Orthopaedics (2019) 43:1011–
  5. Kim, J. Y., Jeon, H. B., Yang, Y. S., Oh, W. & Chang, J. W. Application of human umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells in disease models. World J Stem Cells2, 34–8 (2010).
  6. Jeong, S. Y. et al. Thrombospondin-2 secreted by human umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells promotes chondrogenic differentiation. Stem Cells31, 2136–48 (2013).