STEM CELL THERAPY FAQs
What is the latest science on multiple sclerosis and stem cell therapy?
>>DR. MARC PENN: So, MS is an inflammatory condition that leads to the death of oligodendrocytes that form the coating of our nerves. There’s multiple forms of MS: being progressive where patients get sick and they continue to progress. There’s relapsing/remitting where they get sick; they get better; they get sick again, sometimes don’t return to where they were. The goal of stem cells in MS is to try and minimize that inflammation, minimize the ability of the progression or the reactivation of the MS, and ultimately to activate neural progenitor cells, the stem cells of the brain, to try and either regrow or stabilize the oligodendrocytes that are there.
How can stem cell therapy actually improve MS?
>> DR. PENN: The goal of stem cell therapy in MS is first to minimize inflammation, which hopefully then minimizes the episodic nature of MS and then to try and regrow or reintroduce oligodendrocytes to minimize the progression of the disease and try to restore function that may or may not have been lost.
What is the treatment like for MS at Okyanos?
>> DR. PENN: We treat patients with their own autologous stem cells derived from their fat. We do a liposuction, take the lipoaspirate from that liposuction and put it into the Tissue Genesis Icellator system where the stromal vascular fraction or a mixture of stem cells is isolated from their fat. We then give it back to them intravenously, but first we give a dose of mannitol, a very old drug that’s a sugar, that opens up the blood-brain barrier allowing the stem cells and the exosomes and proteins they release access to the brain for about two hours. After the intravenous infusion, which takes about 30 to 45 minutes, the procedure is done, and the patient is allowed to leave the facility.
What about retreatment for MS?
>> DR. PENN: In patients who feel like their disease was stabilized by stem cells or even improved and they want to either improve better or continue the stabilization, we’re happy to retreat them at Okyanos.