MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS IN A NUTSHELL
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic neurological disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is characterized by the immune system targeting the protective myelin that insulates the nerve fibers. This results in communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. MS can also lead to permanent deterioration of the nerves.
Symptoms of MS could vary from patient to patient. It mostly depends on which nerves are damaged and the magnitude of damage. For instance, people who have severe MS may lose the ability to walk properly. In contrast, others with mild cases may experience long durations of remission without developing any new symptoms.
The exact cause of MS remains unknown. Neurologists consider it an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system targets its tissues. Furthermore, certain risk factors may increase your chances of developing MS. A few critical ones are sex (women are at higher risk), family history, low vitamin D levels, and autoimmune diseases.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
There are no specific tests involved in the diagnosis of MS. The specialist usually begins with a thorough medical history to rule out any other neurological conditions with similar symptoms. The examination may include blood tests, spinal tap, and MRI. It’s also important to note that there are no treatments available so far to address continued nerve damage in MS. Although there are specific medication and surgical options for MS, they have largely been ineffective. Also, many of these therapies have been reported to carry significant side effects.
Impact of Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
Stem cell therapy has emerged as a potential treatment option for MS. Various researches have shown that oxidative stress and inflammation of the central nervous systems in MS are usually responsible for ongoing tissue damage in the disease. Clinical studies suggest that mesenchymal stem cells possess the ability to slow down the progression of MS. MSCs are adult stem cells found in multiple tissues, such as bone marrow, umbilical cord, etc.
MSCs secrete various substances that provide trophic support for the damaged nervous system when injected into the targeted area. As a result, oxidative stress is decreased, thereby leading to a significant reduction in tissue injury. Hence, evidence gathered from scientific studies shows that stem cell therapy might play an instrumental role in preventing long-term disability associated with MS.
All In All
Stem cell therapy has shown remarkable potential for the treatment of MS. There is, however, a need for further research on this topic so that more people can be facilitated.
Witherick, J., Wilkins, A., Scolding, N., & Kemp, K. (2010). Mechanisms of oxidative damage in Multiple Sclerosis and a cell therapy approach to treatment. Autoimmune diseases, 2011, 164608. https://doi.org/10.4061/2011/164608.
Ruiz-Argüelles GJ, Olivares-Gazca JC, Olivares-Gazca M, Leon-Peña AA, Murrieta-Alvarez I, Cantero-Fortiz Y, Gomez-Cruz GB, Ruiz-Argüelles A, Priesca-Marin M, Ruiz-Delgado GJ. Self-reported changes in the expanded disability status scale score in patients with multiple sclerosis after autologous stem cell transplants: real-world data from a single center. Clin Exp Immunol. 2019 Dec;198(3):351-358. doi: 10.1111/cei.13358. Epub 2019 Aug 19. PMID: 31394007; PMCID: PMC6857075.