Neuropathies are characterized by damage to the nerves. There are three types of neuropathy; peripheral, cranial and autonomic. Peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerves that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord are damaged.

Transplantation of stem cells is a very promising approach for the treatment of different neuropathies.  Treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute could help improve the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy including:

  • Loss of sensation in the arms and legs
  • Sharp, jabbing or throbbing pain
  • Freezing or burning pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Lack of coordination and falling
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Heat intolerance and altered sweating
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Buzzing or shocking sensation

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Neuropathy is a general term to used describe any condition that results in damage to one or more nerves. Injury or disease can damage the nerves at any location and the type of neuropathy is typically classified by the location of the damaged nerves or by the disease causing the damage. Nerves that carry signals to and from the brain and spinal cord are called peripheral nerves. The signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy will depend on which nerves are damaged.

Peripheral nerve damage can occur in the:

  • arms
  • hands
  • feet
  • legs
  • internal organs
  • mouth
  • face

Diabetes Mellitus is the number one cause of peripheral neuropathy.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults, an erosive and potentially deforming inflammatory arthritis, has been associated with peripheral neuropathy.5

Sjogren syndrome, characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth, has been associated with hemispheric and spinal cord lesions.5

Scleroderma, characterized by skin hardening and fibrosis, may lead to peripheral neuropathy and trigeminal neuralgia (cranial neuropathy)5

System Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), The prevalence of peripheral neuropathy is relatively high in patients diagnosed with SLE.  In a study of 1533 patients with lupus, 207 patients suffered from neuropathy.6

Lyme disease – can result in neurological disorders such as peripheral neuropathy, including Bell’s palsy, as well as pain, numbness or weakness in the limbs.

Causes of peripheral neuropathy may include:

  • Alcoholism
  • Bone marrow disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Idiopathic: no known cause
  • Infections
  • Inherited disorders
  • Medications
  • Poisons
  • Trauma
  • Tumors
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Viruses

Can stem cell therapy improve symptoms of?

There is no cure for peripheral neuropathy and currently available therapeutic approaches only treat the symptoms of the disease. Certain prescription medications such as; antidepressants, anticonvulsants and opioid pain medications, can help alleviate the symptoms however in severe cases a combination of medications may be needed. These medications may be costly and some are associated with addiction and/or serious adverse events.

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.1,2 

In 2015, researchers published the results of a study using autologous stem cells to treat patients with diabetic foot gangrene due to peripheral neuropathy.  Results showed treatment with stem cells was safe and patients had reduced pain in the limb, cold sensation was reduced and clinical symptoms were improved. The ulcers healed gradually and the patient’s quality of life improved.3

In 2016 experts summarized the research evaluating stem cells for the treatment of diabetic foot resulting from peripheral neuropathy. The experts concluded, “MSC transplantation is a new technology that can be used to treat the diabetic foot and is a well-studied topic in the field of angiogenesis. MSCs have high proliferative and self-renewal capabilities in addition to the ability to differentiate into multiple types of cells… The transplanted stem cells regulate the immune system by influencing the immune responses of T cells, natural killer cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells, and they participate in diabetic wound healing….”4

What type of stem cells are used?

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute uses autologous adipose derived mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy.  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.  There are large numbers of stem cells in subcutaneous adipose tissue, and this tissue is easy to obtain without a painful procedure, Mesenchymal stem cells are a promising treatment for peripheral neuropathy. Treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute may improve the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

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 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 peripheral neuropathy. 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 cell treatment might help you.

 

References:

1.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 2. Han, JW et al., Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Improve Diabetic Neuropathy by Direct Modulation of Both Angiogenesis and Myelination in Peripheral Nerves. Cell transplant. 2016;25(2):313-26. doi: 10.3727/096368915X688209. Epub 2015 May 13. 3. Min Xu, S. et. al., Clinical observation of the application of autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation for the treatment of diabetic foot gangrene. Published online on: November 24, 2015.
4.Wu, Q. et. al., Mesenchymal Stem Cells as a Prospective Therapy for the Diabetic Foot. Hindawi Publishing Corporation Stem Cells International Volume 2016, Article ID 4612167, 18 pages 5. Neurologic Manifestations of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Children and Adults Eyal Muscal, MDa , Robin L. Brey, MDb, * Neurol Clin 28 (2010) 61–73 6. Florica B et. al., Peripheral neuropathy in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Semin Arthritis Rheum.2011 Oct;41(2):203-11

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