What are autoimmune diseases?Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which the patient’s immune system generates cellular and antibody responses to substances and tissues normally present in the body. This might be restricted to one organ or involve a particular tissue in different places. As a result of this immune response, damage to different organs occurs. Examples of autoimmune diseases that have responded to stem cell therapy either in animals or humans include rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus.
How can stem cells help treat autoimmune diseases?
Currently, autoimmune conditions are treated with immune suppressive agents such as steroids, methothrexate, cyclosporine, gold, and more recently infliximab (Remicade). Despite inducing temporary improvement, these approaches possess the possibility of long-term adverse effects, as well as need for life-long treatment.
Stem cell therapy has been demonstrated to induce profound healing activity in animals with various forms of autoimmune disorders. Besides healing damaged tissues, stem cells have the unique ability to modulate the immune system so as to shut off pathological responses while preserving its ability to fight off disease. Stem cells and specifically, mesenchymal stem cells home to inflamed tissue and start producing anti-inflammatory agents. These mediators act locally and do not suppress the immune response of the patient’s whole body. Additionally, mesenchymal stem cells induce the production of T regulatory cells, a type of immune cell whose function is to protect the body against immunological self-attack.
Which kinds of stem cells does the Stem Cell Institute use to treat autoimmune diseases and how are they obtained?
Adult stem cells utilized by the Stem Cell Institute to treat autoimmune diseases come from the patient’s own fat tissue (autologous adipose) and from donated human umbilical cord tissue (HUCT).
Adipose cell collection – A licensed plastic surgeon collects the fat tissue sample by mini-liposuction under general anesthesia. T regulatory cells and Mesenchymal stem cells reside within this tissue. The Medistem Panama laboratory then separates these, and other cells from the fat. This entire process is subjected to stringent quality control. The remaining adipose-derived stem cells are tested for quality, bacterial contamination (anaerobic and aerobic) and endotoxin before they are approved for treatment.
All umbilical cords are donated after healthy, normal births. In accordance with International Blood Bank standards, all umbilical cord-derived stem cells are rigorously screened for viruses and bacteria at Medistem Labs before they are approved for use in patients.
Because HUCT stem cells are less mature than other cells, the body’s immune system is unable to recognize them as foreign and therefore they are not rejected. We’ve treated hundreds of patients with umbilical cord stem cells and there has never been a single instance rejection (graft vs. host disease). HUCT stem cells also proliferate/differentiate more efficiently than “older” cells, such as those found in the bone marrow and therefore, they are considered to be more “potent”.
How are the stem cells administered?
The adipose-derived and HUCT-derived stem cells are typically administered intravenously by a licensed physician over the course of about 2 weeks.
Why do adipose stem cell treatments take more than one week?
Intravenously administered adipose-derived stem cells will tend to migrate back to the fresh wound site if it is not given an adequate time to heal. Therefore, it is essential to allow about one week after the mini-liposuction before administering any stem cells intravenously. Otherwise, there is a high likelihood that the treatment will not be as effective.
Additionally, it takes 5 five days to thoroughly test the adipose cell samples for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. In order to ensure that no patient receives an infected sample, at least 5 days must transpire before the cells can be confirmed safe and injected back into the patient.
Lastly, this 5-day waiting period enables our scientists to culture a small sample of each patient’s stem cells in the lab to observe how they are likely to proliferate once they are inside the body. If a patient’s cells show low viability, our doctors will supplement the treatment with additional cord-derived cells to compensate. The same can be done in cases of low cell yield.
Typical autoimmune stem cell treatment protocol
- Typical autoimmune treatment protocol typically takes 2 weeks
- The first two days: medical evaluation, blood testing, and mini-liposuction
- 3 intravenous (IV) injections of autologous adipose-derived stem cells (during 2nd)
- 2 IV injections of allogeneic umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (during 2nd week)
- Medical consult for hormone evaluation
- 1-month supply of Stem Kine supplement
Will anyone follow up with me after I return home?
Regular follow-up helps us evaluate treatment efficacy and improve our treatment protocols based on observed outcomes. Therefore, one of our medical staff will contact you regularly to monitor your progress after you return home. You will be contacted after 1 month, 3 months, 4 months, and 1 year.
May I speak with treated patients?
Yes, you may. Your patient coordinator will be happy to put you in touch with them at the appropriate time after treatment approval.
You may also view autoimmune patient videos, stories and news. Please take a look!
How can I contact the Stem Cell Insititue?
You may contact us by telephone 1 (800) 980-STEM (toll-free in US) and 1 (954) 636-3390.
Apply for treatment today
To apply for stem cell treatment, please complete this Patient Application Form.