Alzheimer’s Disease

“Eventually, Alzheimer’s kills, but not before it takes everything away from you.”

—Alzheimer’s Association

Neurodegeneration is the progressive loss of structure and/or function of neurons including death. Neurodegenerative diseases include; Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica, uses adult autologous stem cells for the treatment of Alzheimer´s disease.

Transplantation of stem cells at sites of neuronal degeneration is a very promising approach for the treatment of different neurological diseases such as Alzheimer`s Disease. Treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute could help improve the symptoms of Alzheimer´s disease including:

  • Mood swings
  • Distrust in others
  • Irritability and aggressiveness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of recent memories
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Wandering

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Dementia is a fatal disease characterized by chronic inflammation and neuronal loss resulting in amnesia, progressive cognitive impairment, and disorientation. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia with more than 5 million people in the United States living with this devastating disease. It is the 6th leading cause of death, killing more people than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined.1. However, there are currently only five FDA approved medications in the United States, and six medications available globally. Current pharmaceutical treatment options do not address the underlying cause of the disease, but hope to reduce cognitive impairment and improve quality of life.2

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown but there are four key features; 1. Amyloid-beta (Aß) plaques, 2. Neurofibrillary tangles, 3. Neuroinflammation, and 4. Mass neuronal and synaptic loss. Amyloid-beta plaques are sticky clumps of protein fragments that accumulate and attack brain cells, leading to their death. Neurofibrillary tangles are twisted fibers of Tau protein that build up inside the neurons of Alzheimer’s patients damaging neural structures and inhibiting the transport of nutrients. Neuroinflammation is caused by the activation of microglia which mediate immune responses. Microglia are activated and begin producing cytokines that increase neuroinflammation. All of these factors result in mass neuronal and synaptic loss causing the cortex region of the brain to atrophy, or decrease in size. It is the neuronal and synaptic loss that is most closely correlated with cognitive decline.3-7

Can stem cell therapy improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?

Mesenchymal stem cell subpopulations express a variety of neuro-regulatory molecules and promote neuronal cell survival. Neural stem cells transplanted at sites of nerve injury are thought to promote functional recovery by producing trophic factors that induce survival and regeneration of host neurons. Intravenously administered mesenchymal stem cells are also capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier and effectively migrating to regions of neural injury, without inducing tumor growth or an immune response.8

Research has shown mesenchymal stem cells have the potential to; 1. Decrease Amyloid-beta plaque formation, 2. Stimulate neurogenesis, synaptogenesis and neuronal differentiation, 3. Rescue spatial learning and memory deficits, and 4. Possibly decrease inflammation by upregulating neuroprotective cytokines and decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines. The safety and efficacy results from animal models has led to the approval of six ongoing FDA trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.2,3

What type of stem cells are used?

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute uses autologous mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.  Autologous means the stem cells are collected from the recipient so the risk of rejection is virtually eliminated. Mesenchymal stem cells are one type of adult stem cells that are found in a variety of tissues including; adipose tissue, lung, bone marrow, and blood. Treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute may improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

How are the stem cells collected?

A team of stem cell experts developed an FDA approved method and protocol for harvesting and isolating adipose derived stem cells for autologous reimplantation. The collection and use of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of embryos and for this reason, more U.S. federal funding is being spent on stem cell research.

How are the stem cells administered?

The stem cells are administered by intravenous and intrathecal (spinal) injection

About the Stem Cells Transplant Institute

Costa Rica has one of the best healthcare systems in world and is ranked among the highest for medical tourism. Using the most advanced technologies, the team of experts at The Stem Cells Transplant Institute believes in the potential of stem cell therapy for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. We are committed to providing personalized service and the highest quality of care to every patient.

 

References.

1.Alzheimer’s Association. 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimer’s Dement 2017;13:325-373. 2. Tang Jun, How close is the stem cell cure to the Alzheimer’s disease: Future and Beyond? Neural Regen Res. 2012 Jan 5; 7(1): 66–71. 3. Thomas Duncan and Michael Valenzuela. Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and stem cell therapy. Stem Cell Research & Therapy (2017) 8:111. 4. Salloway S, Sperling R, Fox NC, Blennow K, Klunk W, Raskind M, Sabbagh M,Honig LS, Porsteinsson AP, Ferris S. Two phase 3 trials of bapineuzumab inmild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. N Engl J Med. 2014;370:322–33. 5. Doody RS, Raman R, Farlow M, Iwatsubo T, Vellas B, Joffe S, Kieburtz K, He F,Sun X, Thomas RG. A phase 3 trial of semagacestat for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. N Engl J Med. 2013;369:341–50. 6. Walker D, Lue LF. Investigations with cultured human microglia onpathogenic mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. J Neurosci Res. 2005;81:412–25.7. Delbeuck X, Van der Linden M, Collette F. Alzheimer’s disease as a disconnection syndrome? Neuropsychol Rev. 2003;13:79–92.8. Ra JC, Shin IS, Kim SH, Kang SK, Kang BC, Lee HY, Kim YJ, Jo JY, Yoon EJ, Choi HJ. Safety of intravenous infusion of human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells in animals and humans. Stem Cells Dev. 2011;20:1297–308.

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