Mesenchymal Stem Cells are Proving Effective Against Crohn’s Disease
Source: Diabetes UK, Coeliac UK
Normally, the immune system can tell the difference between foreign cells and your own cells however in an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes part of your body as foreign and it releases proteins called autoantibodies that attack healthy cells.
There are at least 80 types of autoimmune diseases and nearly any body part can be affected, some common autoimmune diseases include diabetes mellitus type 1, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Addison’s disease, Graves disease and lupus.
Whilst autoimmune diseases are not inherited the genes that are passed from parents can contribute to the susceptibility for developing an autoimmune disease. Certain diseases such as psoriasis can occur among several members of the same family. This suggests that a specific gene or set of genes predisposes a family member to psoriasis. In addition, individual family members with autoimmune diseases may inherit and share a set of abnormal genes, although they may develop different autoimmune diseases.
It is difficult to estimate precisely how many people are affected by all the different types of autoimmune diseases in the UK. However according to Diabetes UK there are around 400,000 people in the UK with type 1 diabetes, which is currently growing at a rate of around 3% per annum. Rheumatoid arthritis affects roughly 700,000 people in the UK, according to the British Society for Rheumatology and at least 115,000 people in the UK live with Crohn’s disease. A 2014 study estimated a UK-wide figure of 127,000 suffer from MS, and an estimated 8,400 people have Addison’s disease, whilst Lupus is thought to affect up to 50,000 people in the UK.
There are therefore well over 1 million individuals in the UK who are affected by autoimmunity and most autoimmune diseases have very long-term effects on health, placing a large burden on the NHS and on national economies.
Research Into Stem Cell Treatment
However, today, new treatments and advances in stem cell research are giving new hope to people affected by Autoimmune Diseases. Stem cell therapy for Autoimmune Diseases is being studied for efficacy in improving the complications in patients through the use of their own stem cells. These autoimmune disorder treatments may help patients who don’t respond to typical drug treatment, want to reduce their reliance on medication, or are looking to try stem cell therapy before starting drug treatment.
While stem cells may not be the cure for autoimmunity, their properties hold promising potential to reduce symptom flare-ups and slow or control the progression of different diseases. In particular, Mesenchymal stem cells, have been shown in studies to contain immunomodulatory effects and it is believed that systemic administration of these cells may alleviate some symptoms experienced by those who suffer from autoimmune diseases. These stem cells also have the capacity to reduce inflammation, which can be advantageous for diseases where too much inflammation is a cause of symptoms. Whilst further clinical trials in humans have proven intravenous injection of MSCs is safe and feasible for the treatment of MS.
Protect Their Future Health
For more information on the latest breakthroughs in stem cell therapies and treatments see our news articles.