Facing a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease is life-changing. While some symptoms of Parkinson’s can be hard to detect, others are hard to ignore. The unrelenting pace of this progressive disease can quickly rob you of a normal life, manifesting in the form of cognitive impairments, loss of motor control and an interrupted sleep cycle.
PD has become a focus of adult stem cell therapy experts in recent years, for the fact that your own adipose (fat) tissue contains one of the most potent and accessible sources of powerful adult stem cells in your body.
At Okyanos, stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s Disease capitalizes on the healing potential of your own pure adipose stem cells, offering maximal potential benefit and the chance at a more normal life.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
There is a category of diseases related to degeneration of brain tissue which are collectively referred to as neurodegenerative diseases. The exact cause of these diseases is not entirely known, although environmental triggers, genetic factors and the presence of abnormal protein deposits known as Lewy Bodies are known to play an important role in upsetting regular brain function.
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) manifests when the dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain are damaged and thus produce less and less of this important chemical. Dopamine is much like a “messenger,” responsible for transmitting signals in the brain for normal motor control. Without sufficient dopamine, you are unable to execute routine, coordinated movements or control your own motions—hence the resultant tremors, slowness of movement, rigidity of muscles and general instability which progressively worsen over time.
The Healing Power of Your Cells
Stored in your adipose (fat) tissue is a type of stem cells known as mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs. These cells could be likened to small “physicians” who diagnose and correct individual areas of the body in need of special attention. MSCs have the capacity to detect changes in the body which are causing pain or dysfunction, and to respond and communicate with the local environmental needs to provide the correct tools needed for healing.
These adult stem cells are commonly referred to as “repair cells” for their ability to heal injured tissues, organs or body parts, their primary functions being:
- Accelerated tissue repair
- Stimulated cell and tissue regeneration
- Decreased inflammation
- Prevention of further cell death
- Reduction of scar tissue that prevents normal organ function
- Creation of new blood vessels
Re-introducing your own stem cells systemically or directly into damaged areas of the brain can stimulate the repair and regeneration of damaged brain cells essential for dopamine production. In addition, the anti-inflammatory effects of administered mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) works to decrease inflammation, resulting in improved brain function and quality of life.
Stem Cell Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease
Your fat is the most potent and concentrated source of stem cells in your body. These cells have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and travel directly into the nervous system to improve blood flow to the brain and potentially repair some of the nerve damage which has resulted in PD symptoms. Adult stem cell therapy can slow the degenerative progression of your symptoms while repairing or replacing damaged neurons and brain tissue. This may lead to a number of differences in quality of life, including:
- Increased energy
- Improved gait
- Better coordination and motor control
- Reduction of tremors
Although stem cell therapy is not yet a cure for PD, there is promising evidence to support the ability of this therapy to improve quality of life and slow the progression of debilitating symptoms.
How Do The Stem Cells Get to My Brain?
The brain is protected from bacteria, toxins, and viruses by the blood-brain barrier. Unfortunately this barrier also prevents the blood stream from efficiently delivering your stem cells to the brain to assist in repair following neurological injury or disease. Your stem cells are called upon to perform the important tasks of repair and regeneration.
To support the stem cells in performing these jobs effectively, doctors at Okyanos utilize a specifically developed protocol for opening up the blood brain barrier to help deliver stem cells directly to the brain; a technique that has been proven effective in independent studies.
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:
- First, water-assisted fat harvesting is done to obtain a sufficient amount of adipose (fat) tissue.
- 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.
- Approximately 45 minutes before stem and regenerative cell implantation begins, mannitol is administered to facilitate the cells crossing the blood brain barrier for a potentially more efficacious cell delivery.
- In accordance with the individualized treatment plan prepared for each patient, adult stem and regenerative cells are then delivered intravenously and (where appropriate) by direct injection. This combination of IV and direct injection is a standard technique developed by doctors at Okyanos. Direct injections are performed under ultrasound or 2D-fluoroscopic guidance to ensure proper placement of the cells.
To learn more about adult stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s or other neurodegenerative conditions, contact an Okyanos Patient Liaison to request a free educational consultation or dial 855-OKYANOS (855-659-2667).
References: Fat Tissue: An Underappreciated Source of Stem Cells for Biotechnology (April, 2006) in Trends in Biotechnology. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16488036.
Parkinson’s Disease – Causes (May 28, 2014) Mayo Clinic online resource. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/basics/causes/con-20028488
Open-labeled study of unilateral autologous bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in Parkinson’s disease (February, 2010) in Translational Research: The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20129486?dopt=Abstract&holding=f1000,f1000m,isrctn
Specific induction of neuronal cells from bone marrow stromal cells and application for autologous transplantation. (June, 2004) in Journal of Clinical Investigation. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15199405?dopt=Abstract&holding=f1000,f1000m,isrctn