Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the patient’s immune system produces antibodies to various components of the joints and other soft tissues.
As a result of this immune reaction, not only joint destruction occur, but also other secondary complications such as pulmonary fibrosis, renal damage, and even heart damage takes place.
Rheumatoid arthritis is presently treated with immune suppressive drugs such as steroids, cyclosporine, methothrexate and inffliximab. These drugs, provide some temporary relief, but also have long term side effects. Besides these drugs do nothing to ameliorate the effects of immune attack. They also, cannot undo the damage already caused.
Stem cell therapy has been demonstrated to induce profound healing of damaged tissues. Besides healing the damaged tissues, stem cells have the unique ability to modulate the immune response so as to shut off pathological responses while preserving ability to fight off disease. 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. This is called as immune-modulation.
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. These decreases are shown in Figure from the original publication.
Advantages of using allogenic and autologous mesenchymal stem cells
- Allogeneic stem cells can be administered multiple times over the course of days in uniform dosages that contain high cell counts.
- The stem cells with the best anti-inflammatory activity, immune modulating capacity, and ability to stimulate regeneration can be screened and selected.
- Umbilical cord tissue provides an abundant supply of mesenchymal stem cells.
- Adipose derived stem cells are collected by liposuction or bone marrow collection
- Since HUCT mesenchymal and aotologous stem cells are not rejected and need no HLA typing.
- There is a growing body of evidence showing that mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cords are very robust.
The stem cells used in this treatment are called allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells to treat rheumatoid arthritis along with adipose derived autologous stemcells. These cells are harvested from human umbilical cords donated after normal, healthy births. All mothers who donate umbilical cords were tested for bacterial and viral infections. Proper written consent is obtained from each family prior to umbilical cord donation.
All mesenchymal stem cells harvested from umbilical cords were screened for infectious diseases to International Blood Bank Standards before they were cleared for use in treatments. We go through rigorous testing procedures for screening of these stem cells to find cells that have the best anti-inflammatory activity, the best immune modulating capacity, and the best ability to stimulate regeneration. The adipose derived stem cells are obtained from abdominal body fat following standard procedures.
They are typically given intravenously (IV) over the course of a few days.
Below is an example of a typical 4-day rheumatoid arthritis treatment protocol.
- Medical evaluation and blood testing
- 6 IV injections of allogeneic umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells
Your recommended protocol may differ from the example given above.
Proper follow-up helps us evaluate the effectiveness of our treatments and improve our treatment protocols based on observed outcomes. Therefore, one of our medical staff will contact you regularly to monitor your progress. You will be contacted after 1 month, 3 months, 4 months, and 1 year.