Stem Cell Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer’s disease in Brief
One of the most dangerous diseases is Alzheimer’s disease. The disease attacks the brain progressively making the brain cells to waste away, stop functioning and die. This disease has been highly linked to dementia – a heavy hit to the brain which hinders thinking, causing the loss of some essential skills and interferes with the independence of a person. The early signs of the disease can easily be ignored, and with time, a patient will develop memory impairment and lose the ability to carry out their daily activities.
How Stem Cell Therapy Works
Stem cell therapy is a modern concept that is being employed in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. This is a new approach that has received recognition throughout the medical field to be a possible solution in treating various diseases and disorders. It is a therapeutic approach.
Alzheimer’s disease hits the brain hard damaging and affecting all cells as time goes by. Two main proteins are affected by this disease. These essential proteins include amyloid-beta and tau proteins.
Stem cell therapy comes in handy to curb the adverse effects of this disease. The main aim of this new concept in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease targets to replace the damaged cells with other cells that are healthy. Such cells are the ones that can grow independently and presume normal functions in the brain. The main advantage of this procedure is since adult cells from the umbilical cord are the ones being used, there are minimal chances that the cells will be rejected by other tissues and cells in the brain. This means that the newly introduced cells have a free environment to develop and function properly without bottlenecks. Immunological reactions are greatly reduced.
Stem Cell Research
Scientists have different ways of inducing stem cell therapy concepts. Some are common while others are still undergoing research to ascertain their validity. These are some types of stem cells that are used today.
- Neural stem cells (NSCs)
- Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)
- Embryonic stem cells(ESCs)
- Induced pluripotent stem cells
Before being induced to humans, scientists have to conduct extensive research to be sure of the reactions that will follow after the procedure. Such clinical tests are always first conducted on rodents and other mammals that have similar DNA structures and compositions to humans.
Different stem cells were injected into mice. The intra-hippocampal injection of stem cells all showed mixed results in various studies. This included extensive migration and shifting of donor cells to affected areas and, cognitively, after about 4-7 weeks, to no cell migration and shifting at all in other studies.
This range of discord results has limited the growth and advancement of this method as an efficient treatment mechanism for Alzheimer disease. The most clinical focus is on MSCs; this is because of the various safety issues observed when handling MSCs in animal models.
One promising experiment was conducted with stem cells from the umbilical cord. These MSCs showed tolerance to the whole process. It also preserved cognitive function but did not show a significant improvement in cognitive function over the test period. This was a phase one study and more focus has been employed in this area ever since.
Nonetheless, many clinical tests and trials are ongoing. The results are promising as most of the cells induced are showing a high degree of tolerability and greater improvements in cytokines and other biomarkers inside the brain structure.
What Stem Cells Hold for the Future and Challenges Faced so Far
Stem cell therapy requires more than just heavy research. The preclinical studies have not translated well in recent times. Most of the results so far are model dependent, meaning that, all efforts that are intended to improve and justify these means of treatment should aim at reducing those variabilities, and build a more precise yet reliable way of handling patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
One of the major challenges that has surfaced when using stem cell therapy in treating patients with Alzheimer’s disease is in terms of the wide range of functions of neurons. These functions are affected. Different sets of neurons in different individuals might be affected which makes it difficult to target those specific damaged cells. At the same time incorporating the newly introduced cells into normal function may be a big challenge. This means that you have to create tailor-made cells for each Alzheimer’s patient and this is a problem.
Another problem comes in the sense that, the newly introduced cells will only replace the damaged cells in the brain but will not offer a permanent cure for the disease. The genetic cause for the disease will remain. This can cause relapses.
Stem cell therapy offers a new and promising way to treat Alzheimer’s disease, which is still an untreatable disease today. Around 5 million Americans are living with the disease, and it’s dubbed as the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
The past decades have seen the introduction of many agents that have been tried tested and data obtained from them that have proven vital in developing several therapeutic procedures for Alzheimer’s disease. Stem cell therapy is one medical procedure that has been studied for decades; StemFinityCord is one such organization that has championed the study of stem cells in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Our specialists have conducted years of 24-7 hours of laboratory research work to develop the best methods of treating autoimmune disorders using specifically mesenchymal stem cells.
With us, you have the best chance of improving your life and setting yourself free from Alzheimer’s disease.
AARP Research Report (2016). Better Together: A Comparative analysis of age-friendly and dementia-friendly communities.
ACT on Alzheimer’s. Dementia Capable Community: Key Elements & Resources Accessed August 4, 2015.
Alliance for Aging Research. (2012) Translating Innovation to Impact: Evidence-based Interventions to Support People with Alzheimer’s Disease and their Caregivers at Home and in the Community.
Alzheimer’s Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013) The CDC Healthy Brain Initiative: Public Health Road Map for State and National Partnerships, 2013-2018.