Adult stem cell therapy for autoimmune diseases is a new option for patients living with serious and debilitating conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and lupus. This innovative treatment utilizes adult stem cells (from your body fat) which have the ability to decrease inflammation, repair damaged tissue, facilitate better cell-to-cell communication and stimulate new blood vessel growth for better blood flow to the affected area(s).


Multiple Sclerosis

MS causes disruptions in the communications of the nervous system.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

A condition in which the immune system attacks one’s joints.

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Diffuse Scleroderma

An autoimmune disease which damages connective tissue.

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What is Autoimmune Disease?

Your body uses its immune system to defend against invasion by foreign material or infectious organisms. If your system fails to protect from invading cells, viruses or organisms, the result is an infection. When this protective mechanism turns against the body, it is called an autoimmune response. Autoimmune diseases develop when the body’s immune system attacks its own cells, tissues and organs. Autoimmune conditions are seen in millions of patients throughout the world as a family of more than 80 chronic and often disabling illnesses including:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Celiac disease
  • Scleroderma

Stem Cell Therapy for Autoimmune Diseases: An Important Option

Your own adipose tissue (fat) is one of the most potent and concentrated source of mesenchymal stem cells (or MSCs) in your body. Also found in your adipose tissue are other regenerative cells that work in partnership with MSCs to promote healing. This unique combination of stem and regenerative cells has demonstrated remarkable effectiveness in halting destructive immune response and restoring the body to a level of normal function by providing cellular-level repair of damage, increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis—Although this disease mainly affects the joints and can lead to degenerative joint disease, it can also cause serious complications that affect the cardiopulmonary system and lead to heart disease caused by reduced blood flow. Stem cell therapy has been seen to give RA patients an improvement in tender or swollen joints as well as less pain and better function.

Scleroderma—Scleroderma causes the skin to become thick and hard with a buildup of scar tissue and damage to internal organs such as the heart and blood vessels, lungs, stomach and kidneys. Fat-derived stem cells can reduce scar tissue and inflammation while improving blood flow to damaged areas. Research has shown that the injection of stem cells into the hands of Scleroderma patients reduced swelling and caused a return of normal color. Systemic benefit from direct injection has also been noted by researchers.

Multiple Sclerosis—Multiple Sclerosis is an inflammatory disease related to abnormal immune response in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged, disrupting the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate. Stem cell treatment can encourage the nerves to resume communication and thus lead to a better quality of life. Treatment with stem cells has resulted in significant improvements in MS patients, including strength, stamina, energy, eyesight and, most importantly, reduction in brain lesions.

The Procedure

Adult stem cell treatment at Okyanos is a minimally invasive, same-day outpatient procedure. Though recovery can and does vary from patient to patient, our protocols are designed and carried out with the goal of keeping “downtime” to a minimum. A general overview of the procedure is as follows:

  1. First, water-assisted fat harvesting is done to obtain a sufficient amount of adipose (fat) tissue.
  2. The unique blend of stem and regenerative cells which exist in the adipose tissue are then isolated and prepared for intravenous delivery utilizing a closed/sterile, fully automated CGMP cell processing system. For patients receiving direct injections, a closed/sterile, manually operated cell processing technology will be used to obtain a micro-fragmented, cell-rich product for injection.
  3. In accordance with the individualized treatment plan prepared for each patient, adult stem and regenerative cells are delivered intravenously to address the systemic factors relating to autoimmune disorders, as well as by direct injection (where appropriate) to address local symptoms. This combination of IV and direct injection is a standard technique developed by doctors at Okyanos.

To learn more about adult stem cell therapy for autoimmune conditions, contact a Patient Liaison to request a free educational consultation or dial 855-OKYANOS (855-659-2667).


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The Adipose-derived Stem Cell: Looking Back and Looking Ahead (June 1, 2010) in Molecular Biology of the Cell. Retrieved from

Non-Expanded Adipose Stromal Vascular Fraction Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis (2009) in Journal of Translational Medicine. Retrieved from

An Open-Label Phase 2a Proof-of-Concept Study (February, 2012) in Lancet Neurology. Retrieved from

Secretion of Angiogenic and Antiapoptotic Factors by Human Adipose Stromal Cells (March 16, 2004) in Circulation. Retrieved from:

Clinical Applications of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Chronic Diseases (30 April 2014) in Stem Cells International. Retrieved from

Adipose-Derived Stem Cells: an Innovative Therapeutic Approach in Systemic Sclerosis and Parry-Romberg Syndrome (2014) in CellR4; 2 (1): e791. Retrieved from

Treatment of Experimental Arthritis by Inducing Immune Tolerance With Human Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (April 2009) in Arthritis and Rheumatism. Retrieved from

Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes With Adipose Tissue–Derived Stem Cells Expressing Pancreatic Duodenal Homeobox 1 (December 2009) in Stem Cells and Development. Retrieved from:

Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells for the Treatment of Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis: An Open-Label Phase 2a Proof-of-Concept Study (February, 2012) in Lancet Neurology. Retrieved from

Non-Expanded Adipose Stromal Vascular Fraction Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis (2009) in Journal of Translational Medicine. Retrieved from