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Stem cell therapy is the use of stem cells to prevent or treat a disease or condition. Stem cell therapy is currently being used in the treatment of Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE). SLE is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks and inflames its own healthy tissues, vital organs and cells. The disease is thought to be triggered by both genetics and environmental factors such as UV light, medications, a virus, stress and trauma. Symptoms of the disease are fatigue, swelling of joints/joint pain, headaches, rashes, hair loss and anaemia, however other symptoms may present themselves depending on which part of the body the disease is attacking. There is no single test which diagnoses the disease but doctors will run screening tests such as blood tests, x-rays and urinalysis. If left untreated the disease can cause heart attacks, strokes, seizures, kidney failure and inflammation of the lungs/heart due to damaged tissues and organs.  Current treatments for SLE have many side effects which can damage the immune system leading to infections and malignancies as they are not specific enough to the immune dysfunctions. Systemic Lupus Erythematous is mainly a disease thought arise from bone marrow and therefore stem cell therapy/transplants are useful in the treatment of SLE. One of the treatments for SLE is the use of the anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine and some Corticosteroids which can have side effects such as damage to the eyes and mental problems such as anxiety and depression are thought to arise from using some of the drugs prescribed for the treatment of SLE.  Stem cell therapy is currently being used in severe cases of SLE. In the treatment Mensenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are usually taken from the sufferer of the diseases own bone marrow but can be taken from donors as well, the stem cells can also be derived from tissues such as umbilical cords, foetal liver/lungs and fallopian tubes. MSCs are used in stem cell treatment as the immune system does not detect them as foreign, this means that the cells can be obtained from donors and not the patient as the cells do not need to match for treatment to work. Mensenchymal stem cells are multipotent stromal cells which are able to differentiate in to a number of different cells such as osteoblasts, myocytes, adipocytes, neurons and chondrocytes. These stem cells reside in bone marrow and are able to alter the cytokine secretion process and supress T-Cells, B-Cells, Natural Killer (NK) Cells and dendritic cells to produce a more anti-inflammatory response. The stem cell therapy works by removing the defected white blood cells which are causing the harm and then re-administering them back into the patient or by using a donors MSCs and injecting them in to the patient directly into the bloodstream via a vein. The body then uses these stem cells to replenish cells and differentiate into other cells which are needed to repair the damage cause by SLE. The MSCs also act as an anti-inflammatory to relieve sufferer’s symptoms. In this type of stem cell therapy NSI Stem Cell Centre found that 50% of people who suffer with SLE have remained disease free for up to five years after the treatment was undergone. Reference 1-(NSIstemcell.com, 2016) This image shows the way that mesenchymal stem cells supress the immune system. The MSC’s travel to the site of inflammation/injury by a homing mechanism where they are activated by cytokines which are produced by the immune system. The MSC’s then produce cytokines which supress T-cells, B-cells and APCs and produce Tregs. The suppression of the cells and production of Tregs successfully reduce inflammation in people who suffer with Systemic Lupus Erythematous. Reference 2- (Collins and Gilkeson, 2013)  Another form of stem cell therapy for SLE is Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) which has been offered to a small number of sufferers with severe cases of lupus. This form of stem cell therapy has been successful in a small number of lupus cases with studies having reported an overall improvement in patients’ health after HSCT’s with one study reportedly having an 81% survival rate in 28 SLE patients after 5 years. Reference 3- (Leone et al., 2018)            Overall stem cell therapy seems to be the way forward in people with severe cases of Systemic Lupus Erythematous however further studies are to be done until the procedure would be used as an option for people with less severe cases of SLE. 

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