“Game Changing” Stem Cell Treatment for MS
Source: Alzheimer’s Society,
Many of these diseases are genetic. Sometimes the cause is a medical condition such as alcoholism, a tumor, or a stroke. Sometimes the cause is not known.
These are incurable conditions in which nerve cells gradually degenerate, or die, for reasons that are not yet understood. There are many neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Friedreich’s ataxia, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob (prion) disease as well as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease/ALS , and multiple sclerosis, which are explored in more detail on our website. Many of these give rise to dementia, which represents a major and growing public health burden.
Degenerative nerve diseases can be serious or life-threatening. It depends on the type. Most of them have no cure. Treatments may help improve symptoms, relieve pain, and increase mobility.
Degenerative nerve diseases are also often linked to various forms of dementia which are characterised by varying degrees of memory loss, mood changes and communication problems, depending on the disease and stage of illness. Although dementia is associated with Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease and Down’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for more than two-thirds of all dementia cases. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but researchers are working hard to find new treatments that can delay and potentially prevent the disease.
Dementia represents one of the toughest medical and economic challenges facing our society today. Around 850,000 people in the UK suffer from dementia, costing the health care system over £26 billion a year. And the incidence of dementia is likely to grow as the population in the UK and Europe ages, with the number of people affected predicted to double within the next 20 years.
Research Into Stem Cell Treatment
Increasingly, the use of stem cells for neurodegenerative diseases has become of interest. Clinical applications of stem cells for Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and multiple sclerosis has grown as an area of research, and although great care will need to be taken when moving forward with prospective treatments, the application of stem cells is highly promising.
Stem cell use for Alzheimer’s focuses on the possibility of neuronal replacement and the development of nervous tissue. Alzheimer’s is a very complex disorder and the interactions of stem cells with the cells and pathways in the brain are still being researched. There are currently ten studies listed on clinicaltrials.gov regarding mesenchymal stem cells and Alzheimer’s disease, and five of these have recently been recruiting patients. Of course, safety and efficacy is the primary concern regarding this relatively new avenue of medicine.
However, Researchers at the Alzheimer’s Research UK Conference 2016 in Manchester have highlighted the promise of stem cells for testing new drugs to help tackle diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The technique, which is based on Nobel Prize-winning research, harnesses the unique properties of stem cells to recreate processes that happen in the human brain in the laboratory.
Dr Zam Cader, of the University of Oxford, spoke at this conference about the use of stem cells in dementia research. He said:
“While stem cells are revolutionising the way many scientists are addressing big unanswered questions in dementia research, key challenges remain in ensuring nerve cells grown in this way faithfully recreate what happens in the brain and provide genuine insights into diseases like Alzheimer’s. Stem cell techniques are one of a number of emerging new approaches for studying the diseases that cause dementia and investment in developing this area of research will be vital in speeding up the search for much-needed new treatments.”
Protect Their Future Health
To keep up to date with the latest developments in stem cell therapy and the treatment of heart disease, make sure to check back regularly to our blog.