Stem Cell Therapy
We use the newest neurological approaches to provide effective and safe stem cell treatments to a wide range of neurological disorders. We Use the latest knowledge of stem cells behavior in the human body within an individually tailored medical plan according to the patient’s condition. Using stem cell transplantation, intensive physiotherapy and medicines, this combination of therapies has so far proved itself to be most efficient in bringing high level of recovery to our patients.
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are the master cells of the human body. What define stem cells from other cells is their ability to self-generate themselves and the ability to differentiate into other cell types.
Stem cells are at the center of a new field of science called regenerative medicine. All stem cells, regardless of their source, have three general properties: they are capable of dividing and renewing themselves for long periods; they are unspecialized; and they can give rise to specialized cell types.
Self-regeneration is the ability of stem cells to divide and produce more stem cells. During early development, the cell division is symmetrical i.e. each cell divides to gives rise to daughter cells each with the same potential. Later in development, the cell divides asymmetrically with one of the daughter cells produced also a stem cell and the other a more differentiated cell (such as brain cell, blood cell, etc.)
When stem cells are being transplanted into the body and arrive (through migration or through direct injection) into the injured part of the brain being targeted for tissue regeneration, the stem cells are coming into contact with growth chemicals in the body. These chemicals program the stem cells to grow into the tissue surrounding it.
Stem cells can typically be broken into four types:
Embryonic stem cells – Stem cells taken from human embryos
Fetal stem cells- Stem cells taken from aborted fetal tissue
Umbilical stem cells – Stem cells taken from umbilical cords
Adult stem cells – Stem cells taken from adult tissue
The Type of stem cells we use
At our hospitals 3 main types of stem cells are being used:
Neural Stem Cells (derived from fetal stem cells) used for: Cerebral Palsy, Brain Injury, Stroke, Degenerative Diseases, and other neurological disorders.
hRPE Stem Cells (Adult Retinal Stem Cells) Used for: Parkinson’s Disease
Bone Marrow Stem cells (Adult Bone Marrow stem cells extracted from the patient’s own bone marrow) Recommended for young patients with a weak immune system.
What are Neural Stem Cells?
Neural Stem cells are self-regenerating, multipotent cells, found in the human brain which have the potential to differentiate into three major cell types: nerve cells (neurons), astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, and to self renew sufficiently to provide adequate number of cells in the brain.
When brain cells are damaged or are dying, due to a disease or an injury, fetal stem cells are the best known source for human neural stem cells.
Since most brain injuries, stroke, degenerative diseases and Demyelinating disorders affect several areas in the brain and not only one, the most effective and safe procedure to deliver neural stem cell into the brain is via a Lumbar Puncture (also called Spinal Tap): a spinal injection in the lumbar area (lower back) into the CSF (Cerebral Spinal Fluid).
During a lumbar puncture, a needle is carefully inserted into the spinal canal low in the back. A small amount of CSF is collected, then mixed with the stem cell fluid and injected back into the CSF.
The CSF circulation (Cerebral Spinal Fluid) goes in and around the brain, separated from the blood circulation by the Blood Brain Barrier. One cycle of the CSF circulation takes between 6-7 hours. Within this time frame the stem cells will flow through the CSF into the brain.
The CSF circulation pathway body position during a lumbar puncture for stem cell injection
What are hRPE Stem Cells?
hRPE (Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial) Stem Cells, are adult multipotent stem cells that are found in the retina of the human eye. The original function of these special cells is producing Dopamine that participates in the pigmentation process inside the retina.
Due to their function, hRPE cells are a new and most promising solution for Parkinson’s Patients who suffers from degeneration of their Dopamine-producing cells. Dopamine is a neuro-transmitter in our brain that supports our movement fluidity and continuity. hRPE cells can replace degenerated dopamine-producing neurons in the nigrostriatal pathway and provide a source of increased dopamine production to promote functional recovery in Parkinson’s patients.
The hRPE cells are derived from a single donor, then cultured in the laboratory to produce the amount and the type of cells fitting for implantation.
The cells are then being injected within a single operation into 4 targets in the Putamen area in the brain, using MRI 3D image guided stereotactic technique.
While the treatment can not completely remove all symptoms of the disease, it can greatly reduce the tremors, decrease muscle tension and rigidity, improve movement continuity, movement initiation and balance, increase muscle strength, improve slurred speech, reduce the freeze ups and strengthen the overall body.
Every patient who wishes to apply for this treatment should undergo
a thorough evaluation process.
What are Bone Marrow stem cells?
Bone marrow stem cells are the most primal cells in the marrow. From them all the various types of blood cells are descended. Stem cells from bone marrow can also, under special conditions provided in the laboratory, give rise to non-marrow cells - such as neural cells.
Bone marrow cells, unlike other types of stem cells, are available to be extracted from the patient’s own body. This availability carry very significant advantages for certain medical conditions: bone marrow cells, when extracted from the patient’s own body, have no risk of stimulating the immune system. This advantage is crucial when the patient’s immune system is weak.
In medical conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, certain brain infections, seizers and epileptic disorders or at any condition when the immune system is weak – bone marrow stem cell implantation will be recommended.
The procedure of Bone Marrow culturing and implantation:
On the first week upon the patient’s arrival to the hospital, bone marrow is extracted from the patient’s hip in a short and simple operation. This procedure is not painful and is done under a local anesthesia. The bone marrow cells are then sent to the lab and being cultures for about 3-4 weeks. In the lab, the cells are being induce into neural stem cells and then cultured to increase their number. The number of stem cells will be depending on the patient’s age and the level of his bone marrow activity.
Within a month from the bone marrow extraction, the cells will be injected back into the patients’ body via lumbar puncture (spinal injection). (3-4 injections.)
Our stem cell laboratory
All stem cells used come directly from our hospital’s own laboratory to the operating room. Our laboratory’s purity standards of the cells are higher than those that are used for research. The cells are obtained from donations that are extracted by qualified hospitals and kept in cells banks (similarly to donation of other organs). The cells are then cultured in a lab before implantation.
Strict tests are performed before the cells arrive into the operating room. All stem cells used are checked for gene mutation as well as for a vast array of diseases, such as HIV, HBV, HCV, bacteria, etc. come from Sino Cells Bio Technologies Research Centre laboratories. Sino Cells Bio Technologies research center is the most renowned stem cell center in China, which holds a top level researchers team of international reputation.
Self Stem Cells Activation and Proliferation:
How do the stem cells survive, migrate and proliferate in the brain?
Our stem cell program includes three main elements that are working together to initiate a regeneration process in the patient’s brain and functional recovery:
- Stem cell implantation
- Daily IV of medicines (intravenous)
- Physical and Occupational therapy
Our hospital holds the credit for a unique therapy of medicines, given through 5-7 weeks of daily IV. This formula, individually tailored for each patient’s condition, aims at several targets:
To prepare and enhance the microenvironment in the patient’s brain, to support and protect the implanted stem cells.
To cause migration of the stem cells to the relevant areas in the brain by creating chemical signalization.
To activate inactive neural stem cell in the patient’s brain, allowing them activation, proliferation and then differentiation into mature functional brain cells.
Adult stem cells can be found in different places in our body.
Such adult stem cells are also found in our brain, residing within the periventricular subependymal zone and hippocampus. These cells are multipotent and can give rise to all three types of cells of the central nervous system. However, these stem cells are not active and are used as reserve cells. They exist in our brain as if ‘sleeping’, waiting for a signal that will ‘wake’ them into action.
With a certain combination of medicines these stem cells can be ‘awaken’ and start to proliferate, differentiate and produce more brain cells. ‘Wakening up’ these ‘sleeping’ neural stem cell is the main goal of the daily IV you will be receiving daily thorough the whole treatment period.
Through several years of applying this cell therapy for a wide range of neurological disorders, this non-invasive and safe treatment has proved itself to be a highly effective for both moderate level and severe level of neurological disorders.
Physiotherapy is an integral part of stem cell therapy. The physical therapy stimulates the new cells in their process of becoming functional cells and has an important role in helping the cell migrating into the injured areas. Our treatment program includes daily sessions of physical and occupational therapy, and as a complementary treatment sessions of professional traditional Chinese medicine such as acupuncture and Chinese manipulation massage.
Our rehabilitation center is placed in a short walking distance from the patients’ room for an easy access. Our physiotherapists are all professionally trained and are committed to support patients through the hard work of rehabilitation and educate patients toward better mobility, functionality and recovery.
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