Author: Sergey L. Mikheev, MD, PhD, CMO of Swiss Medica
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease with symptoms associated with impaired conduction of nerve fibers. The disease has an autoimmune nature with the own immune system attacking the myelin sheath.
Unlike other common diseases of the nervous system (dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease) MS is not considered age-related. Multiple sclerosis affects middle-aged people, both women and men, though more often the latter.
In the classic course of the disease, the symptoms increase over the years. To assess the severity of a patient with MS, doctors use the EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale). Conventional treatment includes a whole list of drugs that only smooth out the symptoms of the disease. Long-term use and in large quantities of this medications (in some patients – up to 2 dozens of tablets daily) are associated with a high risk of side effects. At the same time, the condition of the nervous tissue may continue to deteriorate.
Using stem cells in the therapy is a promising way to achieve remyelination in MS [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30039439], and thus reverse symptoms. These types of cells are able to restore nerve connections in areas where these connections have been lost, as the primary effect of stem cell therapy comes from the activation the body’s own ability to restore damaged tissues. Thus, the treatment comes directly from the patient’s own body through its natural healing mechanisms. Therefore, the development of side effects, unlike conventional drug therapy, is completely non-existent.
In general, stem cell therapy can return the disease to a stage with less inconvenience and more independence, and allow many patients with MS to return to previous occupations that have become unavailable due to the disease.
At Swiss Medica, we have been approached by patients with symptoms such as instability, difficulties in movement, blurred vision, slow speech, fatigue and spasticity, loss of feeling, bowel symptoms, etc. As a result of the therapy, pain and stiffness pass, speech and mobility improve, sensitivity gradually returns, visual symptoms decrease, the patient’s mood is lifted and motivation increases.
The experience of our patients is presented on our YouTube channel. There are examples of patients who were admitted in the clinic requiring a cane due to decreased mobility and who lost their social life because of mood and speech problems. Since undergoing therapy, they are now able to drive a car again, work out in the gym, and fully and valuably communicate with family and friends.
Of course, it needs to be understood that the amount of improvement depends on the initial condition of the patient and on their individual susceptibility to treatment with stem cells. It can’t be fully predicted how effective the therapy will be for a particular patient, and, in some cases, no improvements or changes are observed.
However, with all this, multiple sclerosis is one of those diseases in which cell therapy shows good results in the majority of cases (more than 85%, based on our clinical practice of treating more than 250 patients). This does not mean a full recovery, but it does result in decreased symptoms, improved quality of life, and reduced dependence on medications, leading to a partial or complete elimination of their side effects.
As for the safety of stem cell therapy, it has been proven both in clinical studies [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5698713/], and in practical experience. However, this is only true if the cell product is manufactured in accordance with Good Tissue Practice. This practice requires the product to be tested for the number of viable cells and for biological safety. In addition, the storage and administration of the cell product must comply with all recommendations to extract the maximum healing properties.
The main goal of stem cells in multiple sclerosis is to try to regain lost functions and prevent the emergence of new foci of demyelination. We use a combination of the patient’s own cells derived from the bone marrow, as well as donor cells from placenta and umbilical cord tissue. It is administered in several ways: intravenously, intrathecally and intramuscularly (depending on the patient’s condition and the stage of the disease). Studies show that remyelination is most effectively achieved through intrathecal administration [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4482203/]. Intramuscular injections can be used to relieve local symptoms – such as spasticity, numbness and lack of control in the limbs.
The course of treatment lasts for 10-12 days and the first improvements are, at times, experienced during this period. However, solely utilizing cell products may not be sufficient. Early improvements are typically associated with the use of additional therapies – IMR-Therapy, Super Inductive System, SparkWave, MDM, hypoxi-hyperoxi therapy, xenon gas therapy, electromyostimulation, plasmapheresis, kinesiotherapy.
These therapies can immediately eliminate symptoms, as well as activate and strengthen the work of stem cells, which require time to get to the affected areas in the body and start working to restore damaged tissues (nerve tissue, in case of multiple sclerosis). In General, this occurs during the first 1-2 months after therapy. In this period, the most pronounced improvements may appear.
Depending on the form of the disease and the aggressiveness of the process, the achieved results are preserved, provided that the patient complies with the recommendations of doctors.
For patients interested in stem cell therapy, we first start by evaluating their medical reports to determine what results they could expect. Contact our Medical Advisers on to get started with your pre-evaluation.
Sergey L. Mikheev, MD, PhD
Chief Medical Officer of Swiss Medica.
Physician, Cardiologist, Specialist in Regenerative Medicine.
14 years of clinical practice in Internal Diseases, Cardiology, Regenerative Medicine.
ESC Professional Member.
Member of Heart Failure Association.
Member of American Academy of Regenerative Medicine.
Member of European Academy of Cardiovascular Imaging.