Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Autoimmune Disease

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica, uses human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MCSCs) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment with stem cells is a very promising approach for the treatment of different autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and could help improve the symptoms of RA:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling, warmth and redness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

What do we know about rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily affects the joints, causing destruction of the articular cartilage resulting in; pain, stiffness, and inflammation of the synovial membrane.

The immune system is designed to protect healthy tissue from foreign invaders such as; bacteria, viruses, and germs however, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, the healthy tissue membrane that surrounds the joints.

This results in inflammation that thickens the synovium, eventually destroying the cartilage and bone within the joint.

As the joint is destroyed the tendons and ligaments holding the join together are damaged and the joint is no longer supported.

In approximately 40% of people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, the inflammation caused by the disorder, can affect more than just the joints. It can also affect non-joint structures such as the; skin, eyes, kidneys, blood vessels, nerve tissue, bone marrow, heart, and lungs.

The exact cause of the disease is unknown but researchers believe it is a combination of genetic and environmental causes.

Rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk of other serious health problems including:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Infections
  • Lung disease
  • Lymphoma
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis 

Despite advances in FDA approved treatments the following problems remain:

  • Up to 30% of patients fail to respond to current treatment options
  • Even with resolution of inflammation, joint damage can continue to occur
  • Already damaged joints will not heal and continued joint damage may occur

What are researchers investigating? Can stem cell therapy improve the symptoms of RA?

Researchers are focusing on developing treatment options that will not only treat the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, but ultimately repair and replace the damaged tissue and reduce inflammation, preventing future tissue damage.Physicians are studying the safety and efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells because of their ability to suppress the immune system, reduce inflammation, and repair tissue.3,4Stem cell therapy for rheumatoid arthritis has been found to be safe.4,5Two clinical trials evaluated the efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells in 225 patients with rheumatoid arthritis.Results showed patients treated with mesenchymal stem cells did better than patients in the control arms.Patients treated with mesenchymal stem cells had beneficial reductions in their symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.4,6,7Research is ongoing, but with the urgent need for more effective treatments for Rheumatoid arthritis, particularly for those patients with the more progressive forms of the disease, the Stem Cells Transplant Institute believes the potential of all types of cell therapies must be explored.As of March 20th, 2019, ClinicalTrials.gov (https://clinicaltrials.gov) showed 6 ongoing clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

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

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute recommends the use of hUC-MSCs for the treatment of RA. For optimal results, we recommend a two-day treatment. Each day you will receive the following:

  1. 1cc vial of 30 million mesenchymal stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood
  2. Antioxidant therapy with vitamin C and glutathione
  3. Ozone therapy
  4. Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP)

Rheumatoid Arthritis in Human Body Illustrated

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

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 locally into the affected joint(s) and intravenously.

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 autoimmune diseases.

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

Scientific References:

1.Xin Yan, Yurong, Cen, Qin Wang. Mesenchymal stem cells alleviate experimental rheumatoid arthritis through microRNA-regulated IκB expression. Scientific Reports | 6:28915 | DOI: 10.1038/srep28915 (2016)

2.Straub, R. H. Rheumatoid arthritis: Stress in RA: a trigger of proinflammatory pathways? Nat Rev Rheumatol 10, 516–518

3.De Bari. Are mesenchymal stem cells in rheumatoid arthritis the good or bad guys? Arthritis Research & Therapy (2015) 17:113

4.A.G. Kay et al. Chapter 8 Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy in Rheumatoid ArthritisP. Van Pham (ed.), Bone and Cartilage Regeneration, Stem Cells in Clinical Applications,149-176.

5.Iyer SS, Rojas M. Anti-infl ammatory effects of mesenchymal stem cells: novel concept for future therapies. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2008;8(5):569–81.

6.Alvaro-Gracia JM, Jover JA, Garcia-Vicuña R, Carreño L, Alonso A, Marsal S, et al. Phase IB/Iia study on intravenous administration of expanded allogeneic adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells in refractory rheumatoid arthritis patients (abstract). Arthritis Rheum. 2013;65(Suppl 10):2644. doi:10.1002/art.2013.65.issue-s10.

7.Wang L, et al. Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell therapy for patients with active rheumatoid arthritis: safety and efficacy. Stem Cells Dev. 2013;22(24):3192–202. doi:10.1089/ scd.2013.0023.