Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the patient’s immune system generates cellular and antibody responses to various components of the joint such as type I collagen. As a result of this immune response, not only does joint destruction occur, but also other secondary complications such as pulmonary fibrosis, renal damage, and even heart damage.
Newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis is currently treated with immune suppressive agents such as steroids, methothrexate, cyclosporine, gold, and more recently infliximab (Remicade). Despite inducing temporary improvement, these approaches possess long-term adverse effects due to non-specific inhibition of immune responses. When disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate are not effective, biologics like abatacept (Orencia), adalimumab (Humira) or etanercept (Enbrel) may be recommended. None of these treatments address the issue of damage that has already occurred to the joints or extra-articular tissues.
Even though advancements in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment protocols and introduction of targeted biological therapies have markedly improved patient outcomes, up to 50% of patients still fail to achieve a significant clinical response.
Stem cell therapy has been demonstrated to induce profound healing activity in animals with various forms of arthritis. For example, the company Vet-Stem routinely utilizes stem cells in horses with various joint deformities to accelerate healing.
Besides healing of damaged tissues, stem cells have the unique ability to modulate the immune system so as to shut off pathological responses while preserving ability to fight off disease.
Stem cells and specifically, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) 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, MSCs induce the production of T regulatory cells, a type of immune cell whose function is to protect the body against immunological self-attack.
A study on MSCs for rheumatoid arthritis (Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis: Safety and Efficacy) showed that MSCs produced a significant decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α, both of which are temporarily targeted by many current RA treatments. – without the long-term side effects.
Through administration of umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells, we have observed improvements in rheumatoid arthritis patients treated at our facilities.
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After stem cells my bloodwork came back with zero inflammation. It actually looked like I had no illness.
One of our staff physicians will assign a stem cell treatment protocol after you have submitted all requested medical information and received approval. Your recommended protocol may differ from the example given below:
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No stem cell product from any source, including the patient’s own, is approved by the US FDA to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
However, human umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells that were isolated and grown in our laboratory in Panama to create master cell banks have been used in the United States under US FDA regulation.
These cells served as the starting material for cellular products used in MSC clinical trials for two Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy patients under US FDA’s designation of Investigational New Drug (IND) for single-patient compassionate use. (IND 16026 DMD Single Patient).
The body’s immune system is unable to recognize umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells as foreign, and therefore they are not rejected. Human umbilical cord tissue stem cells have been administered tens of thousands of times at the Stem Cell Institute, and there has never been a single instance of rejection (graft vs. host disease). As a matter of fact, allogeneic (not the patient’s own) mesenchymal stem cells are approved to treat graft vs. host disease in Canada and New Zealand.
Umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells also proliferate/differentiate more efficiently than “older” cells, such as those found in the fat, and therefore, they are considered to be more “potent”.
The adult stem cells used to treat rheumatoid arthritis at the Stem Cell Institute come from human umbilical cord tissue (allogeneic mesenchymal). These stem cells are expanded at Medistem Panama’s state-of-the-art laboratory.
The mesenchymal stem cells we use are recovered from donated umbilical cords following normal, healthy births. Each mother has her medical history screened and is tested for infectious diseases. Proper consent is received from each family prior to donation.
All umbilical cord-derived stem cells are screened for infectious diseases to International Blood Bank Standards before they are cleared for use in patients.
Only a small percentage of donated umbilical cords pass our rigorous screening process.
Proper follow-up is an essential part of stem cell therapy. Our primary goal is to ensure that you are progressing safely. Regular follow-up also enables us to evaluate efficacy and improve our treatment protocols based on observed outcomes.
Therefore, our medical staff will be contacting you after 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 1 year to monitor your child’s progress.