Stem Cell Therapy for Autoimmune Disorders: An Exciting Treatment Approach
Emerging data and research have evolved in the direction of out-of-the-box thinking and away from a medication-only treatment approach. This may be a very exciting time for some. A few details are highlighted below.
“Autoimmune disease occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system as a result of an inappropriate immune response directed to self-antigens. Patients with autoimmune diseases frequently have unusual antibodies circulating in their blood that target their own body tissues. As a whole, over sixty autoimmune diseases affect about 6% of the population and are the third largest disease burden after heart disease and cancer (1).”
“Autoimmune diseases can be broadly divided into organ-specific and systemic autoimmune diseases depending on the location of the target antigen and clinical features.”
“Systemic autoimmune diseases include diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis, and polymyositis. The feature of these diseases is that the targeted antigens are located throughout the body.”
“Examples of organ-specific autoimmune diseases include Sjögren syndrome, Hashimoto thyroiditis, Graves disease, type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes, Addison disease, vitiligo, pernicious anemia, glomerulonephritis, myasthenia gravis and pulmonary fibrosis.”
“The major immunosuppressive drugs of the last three decades in treatment of autoimmune disease have been corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, azathioprine and methotrexate. In fact, these agents may be effective in auto-immune disease. Nonetheless, these agents are not uniformly effective and are associated with substantial toxicities.”
I agree with the above statement. Toxicity specifically. While I did trust my doctor to recommend appropriate therapies and did try all of the available immunosuppressive medications, I have been an individual who felt much worse while on the various immunosuppressant medications.
I realize immunosuppressant medications may work for some however they did not work for me. Plus, developing additional symptoms that were not present before starting such medications was a challenge to say the least…and getting healthy again afterwards, that was the biggest feat yet.
Stem Cell Therapy
Below are a few paragraphs pulled from a clinical article that I see of importance to, at a minimum, be aware of. If you are interested in reviewing the full article, it is linked at the bottom of the page for reference.
There are two types of Stem Cell Therapy “Techniques” (as I will call them) mentioned in the article highlighted below.
- An autologous hematopoietic cell transplantuses a patient’s ownbone marrow or blood
- An allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantuses a donor’s bone marrow or
An additional term that is important to know: refractory or therapy-refractory. This is when an autoimmune disorder does not respond well or at all to treatment.
“Many studies of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and allogeneic HSCT have been conducted for autoimmune disease in various animal models. Because of the substantial risk of morbidity and mortality associated with allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, autologous transplants justified trying this approach in patient with severe autoimmune disease who were refractory to current treatments. Remission was achieved in some of the patients and some of them relapsed.”
It seems we are in need of additional studies with continual positive outcomes before we get this right. I hope stem cell therapy will become a successful treatment option for everyone dealing with both systemic and organ-specific autoimmune diseases.
When it comes to your health, the choice is always yours. Educate yourself on each medication or treatment option that is available to you before moving forward with it. Trust your instincts and know your options. And as always, ask questions. Compile a list of important questions before every appointment so you don’t forget a thing. Time at these appointments is almost always limited so be ready and be prepared.