Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that affects your joints. It causes pain, swelling and swiftness. People manage their symptoms, but there are still periods with flare-ups. The aim of treatment is to prevent long-term damage and to decrease flares. While no cure exists for the condition there are a range of treatments that can enable individuals to go months or even years without a flare-up. One of the most promising treatments undergoing development is stem cell therapy. This new area of research is showing plenty of promise, and in this article you can learn more about some of the latest findings.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell therapy involves using stem cells to treat a disease or condition. It is a very new treatment form, and research is being conducted for a variety of ailments. Stem cells are found all over the body. This form of therapy involves transporting them through a bone-marrow transplantation. Additionally, the stem cell therapy procedure is usually painless and non-invasive.
Stem cells self-renew and differentiate into a specialized adult type of cell. In fact, this is what gives them high potential for cell tissue and repair. Research is being conducted as to the effectiveness of stem cell therapy in alleviating many autoimmune conditions, and rheumatoid arthritis has been given plenty of consideration.
Can Stem Cells Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Many people will ask “does stem cell therapy work for rheumatoid arthritis?”. The answer is so far unclear, but the positive signs stand out. Let’s take a look at some of the latest research and trials. One major study concluded that, “UC-MSC cells plus DMARDs therapy can be a safe, effective and feasible therapeutic option for RA patients.” This is a huge step, and it shows that the treatment can provide real results. In short, the stable clinical outcomes, high safety, and increased quality of life are all very encouraging aspects. However, there were some limitations to the study—the lack of a placebo and that the treatment was done in a single center.
Another research study showed promise. In this study, the therapy helps to slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis through controlling the memory T cell response. The condition is based on an autoimmune response, and there is evidence that this form of therapy could help the body in slowing this incorrect response.
“UC-MSC cells plus DMARDs therapy can be a safe, effective and feasible therapeutic option for RA patients.”
There is definitely strong potential in this treatment. The proof is in the science involved and analyzing some of the real results that have been achieved in trials. Larger trials and studies are in motion, and we look forward to seeing their results. There is also a major EU-funded clinical project named Regener which could soon have their treatment rolled out to the public.
As of now, there is a clear pathway to this treatment being available for patients, and for some, it could truly be life changing. Here are some of the potential pros and cons that patients would have to consider before getting this form of treatment.
Pros of Stem Cell Therapy for RA
Non-Invasive and Painless
One positive of the treatment is that it can be done in a simple manner. There is no risky surgery or painful procedure involved. It is a simple procedure that can be performed in
Safe and No-Side Effects
The therapy is considered very safe, and there are very few reports of any notable side effects. This is especially relevant to consider when you note the serious side effects that have been reported by people on medication for rheumatoid arthritis in the long-term.
Cons of Stem Cell Therapy for RA
Not a Cure
Stem cell therapy will not cure the underlying mechanism that causes rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment can help reduce pain and inflammation, but it is not a magic solution.
Effectiveness Not Definitively Proven
As of now there are not enough studies to conclusively prove that the therapy is effective. But, once more trials are conducted, we will have a clearer answer as to the long-term effectiveness of stem cell therapy.
How Long do Stem Cell Injections Last?
The stem cells injected into a patient can work on building new cells for an entire year. But a patient can potentially experience some relief within a week. To make sure the treatment is as effective as possible, it is combined with physical therapy and other recommendations from a doctor. It is unclear how long stem cell therapy could last in the long-term, but the research is promising.
Overall, stem cell therapy shows positive signs that it could be a viable treatment for rheumatoid. Those suffering from the condition will be glad to see another treatment option becoming available soon. It is still early days. However, there are significant pros and cons that need to be weighed up before deciding on this treatment. We will keep you updated with any new developments in stem cell therapy for rheumatoid arthritis.