Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment with Stem Cell Therapy
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the severe health hazards that is resistant to standard treatment. It gradually decreases the functional capacity of joints and causes trophic disturbances of the musculoskeletal system. Anti-inflammatory medicines are often used but it just provides temporary relief from pain along with the risk of potential side effects. This is where stem cell therapy can be effective.
Stem Cell Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis leads to deformed or damaged joints, which cannot be repaired. Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) can be used not only for bone regeneration but also for anti-inflammation. Research across the world indicates that the use of MSCs in stem cells therapy can be quite rewarding as:
- MSCs are most commonly found in the adipose tissue, bone marrow, synovium, peripheral blood, and different mesodermal tissues.
- MSCs can be easily isolated from several different organs of the patient and they possess a multipotent capacity and also exhibit immunoregulatory properties.
- The human MSC cells are mostly derived from the adipose tissue and bone marrow
- MSC has the ability to suppress inflammation and subsequently helps in protecting the articular cartilage as well as bone.
- MSC plays a vital role in self-renewal as well as self repair processes related to injured or damaged organs and tissues.
- Laboratory and clinical studies have revealed that regeneration of the damaged joints in patients suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis is very much possible by inducing MSCs
How does Stem Cell Therapy work for Rheumatoid Arthritis?
MSCs can be used as stem cell therapy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In recent times, the use of MSCs has been more focused on cartilage tissue repair and regeneration. There are two different approaches to using MSCs for this purpose, which are:
Cartilage tissue engineering- As a part of this process, a replacement tissue has to be constructed in vitro using mesenchymal stem cells combined with scaffold under an appropriate environmental stimulus.
Cartilage regeneration- This is a complete mesenchymal stem cell therapy where the immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects of MSCs are utilized. As a part of the procedure, MSCs are first expanded and then injected locally into the joint affected by Rheumatoid arthritis. The mesenchymal stem cells can also be applied systematically. Due to their high potential regenerative abilities, the MSCs influence the microenvironment and thus aid in the regeneration of the damaged cartilage.
In either approach of stem cell therapy, mesenchymal stem cells don’t always work alone. There are several growth factors that play a vital role in making MSCs highly functional and effective. Some of the growth factors include insulin-like growth factors, platelet-derived growth factor, members of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) super-family, fibroblast growth factors, and Wnt proteins.
Among these growth factors, one of the most active and key factors is bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). Bone morphogenetic proteins or BMP is considered to be a group of growth factors that are often known as metabologens and cytokines. They are considered to be the most potent inducers that promote chondrogenesis (the process of cartilage development) of MSCs. Bone morphogenetic proteins are hence considered integral to the stem cell therapy as their involvement in cartilage development can be a standalone process or in association with other growth factors that primarily aid in enhancing chondrogenic differentiation of MSC stem cells.
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