There are at least 80 types of autoimmune diseases, and scientists still struggle to understand them and their causes. In addition, treating autoimmune disorders is often even more challenging as the body attacks itself.
However, new developments in stem cell therapy offer a promising option for patients whose only treatment possibility was symptom management.
What Is an Autoimmune Disease?
An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. The immune system’s job is to guard against outside invaders, like bacteria and viruses, sending cells to break down the germs and rid them from the body.
Patients suffering from an autoimmune disease have an immune system that can’t differentiate between harmful foreign cells and healthy normal cells. Some autoimmune diseases, like Type 1 diabetes, only attack one organ. Other conditions, like lupus, can affect the whole body.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?
Mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to differentiate into specialized cells. For example, when a stem cell divides to create two cells, one cell is a daughter cell, or another stem cell, while the other cell can become a cell with a more specific function, like a brain cell or a blood cell.
In stem cell therapy, stem cells extracted from a patient are prompted to divide into specialized cells to heal and replace damaged tissue.
What Can Stem Cells Do for Autoimmune Disease?
Early studies of stem cell treatments in animals with various autoimmune disorders resulted in impressive healing activity.
Using mesenchymal stem cells, multipotent cells found in bone marrow, the treatments healed damaged tissue and began producing anti-inflammatory agents, which help modulate the overactive immune system.
Additionally, the stem cell mediators modulated the immune system in a way that allowed it to keep fighting harmful cells while shutting off its pathological response toward healthy cells.
The mesenchymal stem cells offer the added benefit of increased T regulatory cells, which are immune cells that protect the body against attacking itself.
Stem Cell Research for Autoimmune Disease Is Ongoing
Many studies pronouncing the benefits of stem cell therapy in treating autoimmune diseases are in their infancy. However, the wide range of advantages shown in early studies reveals that stem cell therapy may be the key to understanding and managing autoimmune disorders.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for ALS, also known as Stem cell treatment for ALS. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.