One of many types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. In people with RA, the immune system attacks different parts of the joint by generating antibody and cellular responses to various tissues, including collagen. This causes joint deterioration along with such complications as renal and heart damage and pulmonary fibrosis. Rheumatoid arthritis is progressive and very painful. If you have RA, stem cell treatment might be an option to help you with the joint deterioration that is associated with the disease.
How can stem cells help?
When you are first diagnosed with RA, you will likely be treated with immunosuppressive agents, including steroids, cyclosporine, methotrexate and others. Unfortunately, these treatments come with adverse effects because of how they inhibit the responses of your immune system in non-specific ways. When these treatments are not effective, then biologics such as etanercept or adalimumab might be recommended. Unfortunately, these treatments have no effect on the joint and tissue damage that has already been caused, and up to half of all patients do not show significant clinical responses to the treatments.
Stem cells are an alternative option because of how they work to induce healing while regenerating healthy tissue. They also have a modulating effect on the immune system, which helps to fight off disease while turning off some of the pathological responses.
Messenger stem cells (formerly named Mesenchymal stem cells) or MSC’s target inflamed tissue and immediately begin producing anti-inflammatory agents. These agents do not non-specially inhibit the entire immune system. Instead, they act locally. They also help by encouraging the body’s production of regulatory cells that protect against immunological attacks from your own immune system.
The type of stem cells used to treat rheumatoid arthritis
Spine Institute Northwest treats rheumatoid arthritis by using a type of adult stem cell that are called allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells. These cells are derived from umbilical cords that are donated after normal births. Other messenger stem cells can be taken from the bone marrow in your hip or from your own fat cells. For cells that are derived from umbilical cords, the donor mothers undergo medical history and disease screens and tests. If your treatment will come from umbilical cord cells, you will be given a consent form to sign. Messenger stem cells from umbilical cords must meet the standards of the International Blood Bank before we are able to use them. These stem cells can be administered several times over a period of a few days to provide high cellular counts for the best anti-inflammatory response. These cells are not recognized by the body as foreign cells, meaning that they will not be rejected.
How are messenger stem cells administered during rheumatoid arthritis treatment?
Your doctor will inject the stem cells directly into the area surrounding your damaged joints over a course of a few days. Each treatment will last for around 30 minutes, and it is performed on an outpatient basis.
What happens after treatment?
We will follow up with you at regular intervals so that we can evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment. Our staff will contact you to monitor your progress at around one month after treatment, three months, six months and one year. You will notice gradual improvements in your joint pain and movements over a period of a few weeks.
Contact us today
The professional team at the Spine Institute Northwest is comprised of orthopedic specialists, podiatrists, and spine surgeons. We are dedicated to helping you to return to your regular activities as soon as possible. To learn more about whether stem cell treatment is an option for you, call us today at (206) 496-0630 to schedule your consultation.