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Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers Sigh With Relief - Part Two

By: Sarah Manners

Recently MS patient Jan Wilks began walking days after treatment with umbilical cord stem cells after years in a wheelchair. Coverage of her case in the press sparked a huge demand for more information on this new cutting edge treatment. Jan Wilks is only one of stem cell therapy's success stories.

Stem Cell Treatment
Stem cell treatment involves topical injections and requires only a few hours stay at one of the 12 international clinics. In a typical MS case, there are multiple injections of the contents of a single vial of stem cells. These are injected into the skin/fat layer over the spine and one or two seriously affected areas of the body (e.g. into the vein of an unusable hand, or into the skin near an eye with visual problems.) They are not injected into the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) itself. However, the exact way the stem cells are administered is specific to each MS patient. The focus is on areas of greatest need. Cells are injected into specific sites of demyelination as indicated by a MRI report and into areas of greatest clinical need.
This method of Patient Specific Injection Protocol appears to deliver the fastest and strongest responses recorded.

If there is damage to the brain - stem cells are injected into the skin using the surface anatomical markers of various regions of the brain. For example if there is damage to the cerebellum, the injection of stem cells would be subcutaneously over the occipit (back of the head). There are no risks involved in this. The stem cells are able to reach damaged areas in the brain by traveling through the bloodstream. This is very straightforward as cord blood stem cells are derived from blood. One of their primary functions is to migrate to sites of need in the body through a process called homing. With homing to the brain, the blood brain barrier opens up to accept stem cells as it does for any other blood cell. In addition, a drip can be given intravenously an hour before the stem cells treatment to cause a slight dehydration of the brain making the barrier more receptive.

In MS, the damage in the brain and spinal cord does not follow a predictable pattern. Also, the findings of plaques shown on an MRI scan do not necessarily correlate with the degree of clinical severity. This makes the process of injecting directly into the brain matter or spinal fluid problematic as well as incredibly risky. For these reasons the stem cells are injected into the skin over the spine and brain and not into it.

Data shows benefits derived from stem cell therapy in both Progressive and Relapsing/Remitting types of MS. However, the type and speed of benefits, extent of regeneration and biological methods by which regeneration occurs may differ from PP to RR; however results are consistent in both types. All the above variables differ vastly from case to case within the categories of PP to RR, making it difficult to compare categories. Study groups are planned to generate a more specific answer to this question. The most important factor between cases noted to date is not the type of MS, but prescription medications (ABC drugs, antibiotics, chemotherapy) which - due to inherent toxicity factors - inhibit stem cell activity and significantly reduce the probability of benefit.

Once the stem cells have been injected they travel to the areas of damage/demyelination/inflammation via a process called 'homing'. The stem cells follow the bodies naturally-produced chemical signals released when the body is under stress, damage or repair. These messages attract stem cells to the areas in need. Once the stem cells reach their target there are five main mechanisms, or combinations of mechanisms, by which the stem cells contribute to neurological repair. These are:

1)Transdifferentiation: Once mature, the previously primitive cells assume the function of a more specialized cell type.

2)Transdetermination: Redirection of a cell to produce other types of cells. e.g., a bone marrow stem cell may in fact start to produce cartilage or neurons.

3)De-differentiation: Mature cells are triggered to move back up the hierarchical ladder model to become able to produce any kind of cell.

4)Fusion: The stem cell fuses with existing cells to create a 'super-cell' that has access to suppressed DNA and is able to perform neurological repair.

5)Trophic Support: Stem cells produce growth factors that encourage the repair using existing cells.

Treatment Logistics
The time needed in clinic for pre-treatment examination, injection and monitoring is around 3 hours. The injections themselves take under five minutes.

Some clients report a warm rushing sensation following the injection and mild sleepiness for several days. Others report a boost of energy and euphoria. Some people experience nothing notable at the time of treatment but report clinical benefits later.

The therapy is designed to function as a single treatment and each case is assessed for future treatment needs on an individual basis. In each case, goals must be set regarding desired treatment benefits. If these goals are not met by the first treatment, there may be a need for booster treatments. Follow ups are done at regular intervals by the consulting physician and Follow-Up Coordinators. The cost of treatment is currently 19,500 euros while re-treatments for clients treated in 2005 are offered at a discounted rate of 10,000 euros.

The Treatment Outcome
In best case scenarios, progressive cases have returned to normal function and retain these benefits past the one year mark and don't require boosters.
ACT has developed a Rating Scale based on the patients' own subjective reports of the benefits the patients consider important to them and their daily activities.

Rating 1: A significant or life changing benefit for that individual (e.g. bladder control; sexual function; hand function.)

Rating 2: Multiple benefits that meet the patient's personal goals.

Rating 3 (highest rating): An overall response beyond the expectations of both the patient and conventional doctors.

Jan Wilks experienced results very quickly which happens occasionally. On average, treatment benefits usually peak between three and six months after treatment then plateau at one year.

Booking Your Treatment
You'll work exclusively with treatment representatives, in-house physicians, booking coordinators and follow-up specialists who arrange and follow treatments at 12 international locations in monthly treatment groups.

Booking Procedure:

Enquire via online enquiry form, specific email or phone.

A link to an online information package will be emailed or faxed.

Please quote the MSRC as the referring source.

You will be contacted by an ACT representative by phone to schedule a telephonic consultation with a consulting physician.

Consulting physician will cover all questions and medical issues. If treatment is booked at that time, a time will be scheduled for you to speak to the Bookings Coordinator regarding choice of location and date of the next available treatment group. The Bookings Coordinator will cover all logistical issues and send a provisional booking form.

Payment is made by international wire transfer and a final confirmation form is sent.

Author Bio
Advanced Cell Therapeutics Ltd. (ACT) is a biotech company specializing in providing safe, easy and ethical access to the latest in Stem Cell Therapies. Based in Zurich, ACTs mission is to provide access to safe and ethical treatments which target the causes as well as the symptoms of degenerative disease and aging.

Article Source: - Free Website Content

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