Benefits of Stem cell therapy for Alzheimer's disease - GO.CARE Blog

Benefits of Stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s disease

Author: Jonathan Pham
Review Date: November 15, 2019 | Last Modified: November 29, 2019
Benefits of Stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s disease

A brief introduction to Alzheimer’s

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a type of neurological disorder that gravely affects a person’s brain functions. The disease gets its name from the one who first discovered it – Dr. Alois Alzheimer. At its initial stage, patients may notice a tendency to forget things and difficulty in reasoning. Over time, there will be a progressive deterioration in his/ her cognitive abilities, which can be observed from symptoms such as confusion, abnormal thinking, repetitive actions, hallucinations, etc. When Alzheimer’s reaches its peak, the patient will no longer be able to get out of bed and is completely at the mercy of other people.

Currently, Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of dementia – a chronic mental condition characterized by memory loss, cognitive impairment, and personality alteration. Most of the time, those who are diagnosed with the disease are above 60 years old.

What causes Alzheimer’s?

Up to now, the exact cause of Alzheimer’s still remains a mystery, but scientists strongly believe that this neurodegenerative disorder stems from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The condition is characterized by the accumulation of some proteins in the patient’s brain – namely amyloid-beta and tau. As the number of these proteins increases, plaques and tangles start to form in the brain, hence hindering the transmission of neural signals and the supply of nutrients to brain cells. Over time, these cells will gradually die.

Research has found out that some factors can contribute to the risk of Alzheimer’s. These include age, family history, previous head injury, heart diseases, inactive lifestyle, etc.

Can Alzheimer’s be cured?

Alzheimer’s has long been an “incurable” disease – instead, the least that doctors can do is to prescribe patients with certain medications to temporarily ease their symptoms. Drugs like cholinesterase inhibitors, memantine, and sedatives may aid in slowing down the disease’s progression and improving the patient’s ability to perform daily tasks. For example, cholinesterase inhibitors can prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine – a chemical that functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain.

However, pharmaceutical-based approaches like this are incapable of preventing further loss of neurons and regenerating dead brain cells. Up to now, most attempts at finding a medicine that can clear up the plaques and tangles in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s have failed.

The ineffectiveness of pharmaceutical-based methods has prompted researchers to look for an effective alternative. Recent research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias has brought new treatment options for patients. One of the most promising is stem cell treatment.

Stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s disease

How stem cells work for Alzheimer’s

Unlike other types of cells, stem cells are “undifferentiated” – that means, they are in a very basic form and haven’t played any specific role in the body yet. Stem cells have the ability to reproduce themselves very rapidly and to become different body cell types – including brain cells. For this reason, they are believed to be useful in curing neurological damage caused by diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

In the case of Alzheimer’s, the build-up of plaques and tangles in the brain reduces the production of neurotrophins. Because neurotrophins play a critical role in the survival and function of neurons, this causes damage to the brain tissues and results in a gradual loss of brain nerve cells. Stem cell therapy provides a reliable way to produce new brain cells – hence counteracting the effects of Alzheimer’s.

According to the Alzheimer’s News Today, Japan first approved the use of stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s in 2018. The approved treatment was developed and provided by the Nature Cell company and the Biostar Stem Cell Research Institute, both of whom were based in South Korea. Before the approval of the Japanse government, stem cell therapy had been performed on 3 Korean patients, each of whom was intravenously injected with 200 million stem cells.

Stem-cell

What types of stem cells are used to treat Alzheimer’s?

For years, many types of stem cells have been utilized in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. These include neural stem cells (NSCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), etc. Each type of stem cell has been observed to produce different levels of improvement.

Among the above-mentioned cells, MSCs are currently the most commonly used, as they are pretty safe and easy to handle. MSCs are known for their ability to reduce inflammation, repair damaged cells, and improve brain functions by stimulating the production of new cells in the hippocampus. They can be collected from a variety of sources, including the umbilical cord, blood & adipose tissues.

In stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s, these cells are collected, enriched, cryo-stored and then administered with the aim of replacing dying brain nerve cells. To perform this, either the patient’s own stem cells or those from a donor are harvested and re-introduced into his/ her body. Adult stem cell therapy helps the body’s natural healing process work faster and more effectively.

Potential improvements after stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s

Clinical trials have shown that adult stem cells have the potential to regenerate lost and damaged tissues in the brain. In addition, they also aid in modulating the immune system and disabling the abnormal attack. By addressing these two problems, patients may observe the following potential changes:

  • Improved behavior and mood;
  • A reduction in or complete elimination of confusion;
  • Better motor skills;
  • Better cognitive functions;
  • Reduced levels of memory loss;
  • Increased energy and wellness;

Where can I get stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s?

GO.CARE is able to provide an answer to your question. We co-operate with a large network of stem cell centers, which are located mostly in Bangkok, Thailand. Our medical partners use a large variety of Stem Cells (Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells, Mesenchymal, Autologous Adipose-Derived, Bone Marrow, etc.). In addition, none of them use embryonic cells, meaning that there is virtually no risk of developing a tumor or transplant rejection.

Contact GO.CARE now by giving us a call or sending us an e-mail. One of our health consultants will get back to you to provide consultation – completely FOR FREE. We will study your case in order to figure out the best hospital and treatment plan for you.

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Stem Cell Therapy for Alzheimer’s. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Stem-Cell-Therapy-for-Alzheimers.aspx. Accessed on November 15, 2019.

Alzheimer’s disease: how could stem cells help? https://www.eurostemcell.org/alzheimers-disease-how-could-stem-cells-help. Accessed on November 15, 2019.

Potential for Stem Cells Therapy in Alzheimer’s Disease: Do Neurotrophic Factors Play Critical Role? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5880623/. Accessed on November 15, 2019.

Alzheimer’s Society’s view on stem cell research. https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-us/policy-and-influencing/what-we-think/stem-cell-research. Accessed on November 15, 2019.

First Stem Cell Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease Approved, Applied in Japan. https://alzheimersnewstoday.com/2018/04/30/first-stem-cell-therapy-for-alzheimers-disease-approved-in-japan/. Accessed on November 15, 2019.

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