Multiple SclerosisMS is the disease that affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other. This communication is done by the nerve cells by sending electrical signals called action potentials. These are sent down through long fibers called axons, which are wrapped in an insulating substance called myelin.
In this disease, immune system of the body attacks and damages the myelin. Thus when myelin is lost, the axons can no longer effectively conduct signals and communicate. Name of the disease is derived from scars (scleroses-better known as plaques or lesions) particularly in the white matter of the brain and spinal cord.
Inspite of in depth knowledge about the mechanisms involved in the disease process, the causes of the disease remains unknown.
Symptoms of the disease initiate with any neurological symptom and often progresses to physical and cognitive disability. MS is manifested in several forms, with new symptoms occurring either in discrete attacks (relapsing forms) or slowly accumulating over time (progressive forms). Permanent neurological problems often occur, especially as the disease advances, though the attacks may be infrequent.
Stem Cell TreatmentStem cells are the master cells of the human body as they can divide unlimitedly as long as the person is alive, they serve as a repair system. These stem cells on division may either remain like the parent cell or may develop into a specialized function cell. Thus stem cells are defined by their capacity to self renew as well as differentiate into one or more mature cell types. They are found in various parts of the human body at every stage of development from embryo to adult.
The primary use of experimental stem cell therapy is to explore and offer potential benefits of stem cells. Engineered stem cells help in slowing down or stopping further deterioration caused by the disease. In clinical trials stem cell therapy also are tested to see if stem cells can reverse the effects of the disease.
As there is no effective treatment of this disease, the ideal curative treatment in Multiple sclerosis patients is replacement of degenerated or lost cells. It has been studies that there is possibility of facilitating a possible cure with the help of transplanted Adult mesenchymal stem cells as they have the potential to differentiate into functional neural cell types.
Because in Multiple Sclerosis the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, leading to demyelination and scarring as well as a broad spectrum of signs and symptoms, nerve cells affected belong to both the spinal cord and the brain, the prospective of treatment through stem cell has to focus on replacement of both types of cells. Any cell-replacement therapy to be effective would have to aim at restoration of the functions of both groups of nerve cells. As also with other neurological disorders for the brain and spinal cord to be able to function appropriately, the therapy should ensure that the new cells become integrated into the existing circuits.
It is felt and researched through clinical trials to make use of stem cells in alleviating the symptoms of MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS and even try reverting progression of the disease. The stem cells on transplantation into the spinal cord with the disease, exhibited positive improvement. Stem cells appeaed to repair the sick and injured nerve cells and prevented them from dying and improved their functions.
With advancement in stem cell research, researches are hopeful that soon we will have tested therapies for successfully treating these patients. These therapies will not only be helpful in prevention of most of the symptoms but on administration shortly after diagnosis, when a patient begins to lose limb function , will prevent setting in of paralysis.
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