Stem Cells Therapy
for
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Diseases of the CNS

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Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, stroke and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are the most common diseases of the central nervous system.

Transplantation of stem cells is a very promising approach for the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system such as multiple sclerosis.

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute recommends the use of mesenchymal stem cells, derived cultured, and expanded from umbilical cord tissue, for the treatment of neurological diseases including multiple sclerosis.

Treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute could help improve the symptoms of MS:

  • Visual disturbances
  • Loss of balance
  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Tremors
  • Numbness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Paralysis
  • Blindness
  • Bladder and bowel problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Emotional disturbances

What do we know about MS?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS), is a group of chronic, immune-mediated diseases where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves).

MS is a chronic, inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system.  The disease is characterized by recurrent episodes of focal inflammatory demyelination resulting in neurological symptoms. 

About 2.5 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and although people at any age can be diagnosed with MS, most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50.

Axons of the brain and spinal cord are nerve fibers that transmit information to different neurons, muscles and glands in the body. The axons of the brain and spinal cord are wrapped in a protective myelin sheath; a fatty substance that insulates the nerve fibers. 

Multiple sclerosis is diagnosed when the immune system attacks, and damages the myelin sheath, impacting the central nervous system’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body.

Eventually the nerves themselves begin to deteriorate and can become permanently damaged. The specific symptom or symptoms that someone experiences are related to the area or areas that have been affected.

The cause of the disease is unknown.

Conventional therapy reduces or stops the episodes of inflammation but does not effectively impact the course of progressive MS.

Four types of MS

1. Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS)

The most common form of MS

2. Secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS)

Diagnosed when the problems caused by an exacerbation don’t fully resolve during a remission. This often occurs in patients who were initially diagnosed with RRMS.

3. Primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS)

Progresses over time, without episodes of remission or improvement of symptoms.

4. Progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis (PRMS)

Identified when patients experience escalating symptoms over time, as well as intermittent episodes of remission.

What are researchers investigating and can stem cell therapy improve the symptoms of MS?

Researchers are evaluating the best way to use stem cell therapy to prevent or repair damage to the myelin and myelin sheath.

Some studies have shown positive results, in patients with remitting-relapsing MS, using chemotherapy first to destroy a person’s immune system followed by stem cell therapy to rebuild the immune system so it no longer attacks the myelin.

In clinical trials, mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to reverse the damage to nervous system and improve the symptoms of MS, resulting in an improved quality of life. 

Mesenchymal stem cells produce; 1. proteins that support the growth and survival of neurons, 2. angiogenic factors that are essential for the healing, growth, development, and maintenance of blood vessels, and 3. immunomodulatory substances that can reverse the damage to the nerves.2,3 

Researchers are working to develop stem cell treatments that replace the nerves damaged or destroyed.

For patients with multiple sclerosis this means, the stem cells repair the damaged areas of demyelination and grow new, healthy cells, preventing future damage and improving symptoms.

Initial research evaluating the safety and efficacy of autologous stem cell transplantation to treat patients with multiple sclerosis is promising.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic published the results of their pilot study evaluating the feasibility, safety, and tolerability of autologous MSC transplantation in MS patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) or secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).

The results of the trial showed autologous stem cell transplantation to be feasible, safe and well tolerated.4

Physicians in Barcelona, Spain evaluated the efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells in patients unresponsive to conventional therapy and they too found stem cell transplantation to be safe and effective.

Results at 6 months and 1 year showed; fewer enhancing lesions, a reduction in T2 lesion volume and reduced retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness.

Exciting progress is being made through innovative research evaluating the safety and efficacy of stem cell transplantation for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

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

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute recommends the use of hUC-MSCs for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The specific protocol will be decided by the treating physician after the patient has provided the medical history and undergone the clinical evaluation. The protocol provided below is just a guide.

  • Treatment duration 4 days and 5 nights or 6 days and 7 nights depending on the severity of disease
  • A physical examination and blood test are given the first day
  • 120 million mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) cultured and expanded from human umbilical cord tissue (4-day total 480 million MSCs or 6-day total 720 million MSCs)
  • Injections are given intrathecally and intravenously
  • Antioxidant therapy with vitamin C and glutathione with each stem cell treatment
  • Ozone therapy with each stem cell treatment
  • Platelet-rich plasma therapy with each stem cell treatment
  • For more severe cases there may be up to a 3-day course chemo therapy prior to initiating stem cell therapy

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 are young and very adaptive
  • 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 are the challenges?

Autoimmune disease such as MS are difficult to treat because you need your immune system to fight infection so it is not possible to completely block the patient’s immune system.

No patient is the same.

There are many forms of the disease.

Scientists do not completely understand how the myelin sheath is formed.

How are the stem cells collected?

We use only umbilical cord stem cells that are derived exclusively from umbilical cord donations. 

The umbilical cord stem cells from are collected after informed consent has been given by the parent, or parents, and only after the delivery of the baby.

The collection follows strict ethical protocols ensuring the stem cells are from safe, reliable sources using a non-invasive, simple and painless procedure.

Once collected, the cord blood is then screened for disease.

How are the stem cells administered?

Stem cells are administered by intravenous and intrathecal 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 multiple sclerosis.

We are committed to providing personalized service and the highest quality of care to every patient.

Contact the experts at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute to see if stem cells transplantation is a viable treatment option for you.

Scientific References:

1 Panagiotis Douvaras et al., Efficient Generation of Myelinating Oligodendrocytes from PrimaryProgressive Multiple Sclerosis Patients by Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. Stem Cell Reports j Vol. 3 j 250–259 j August 12, 2014.

2 Cell Death Discovery (2016) 2, e16055; doi:10.1038/cddiscovery.2016.55; published online 11 July 2016 Mesenchymal stem cells to treat diabetic neuropathy: a long and strenuous way from bench to the clinic JY Zhou

3 Vickers RE et al., A preliminary report on stem cell therapy for neuropathic pain in humans. J Pain Res. 2014; 7: 255–263. Published online 2014 May 8.

4 Jeffrey A Cohen et al.,Pilot trial of intravenous autologous culture-expanded mesenchymal stem cell   transplantation in multiple sclerosis Multiple Sclerosis Journal 1–11DOI: 10.1177/1352458517703802.

5 Sara Llufriu et al.,Randomized Placebo-Controlled Phase II Trial of Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Multiple Sclerosis. PLoS ONE 9(12): e113936. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0113936

6 Riordan, NH. et. al., Clinical feasibility of umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. J Transl Med. 2018, Mar 9; 16:57