05.03.2018 change 05.03.2018

Researchers want to use stem cells in patients with rare neurological diseases

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Researchers from the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Collegium Medicum in Olsztyn want to implant stem cells in patients with rare neurological diseases. So far, stem cells have been administered to patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis.

For the last few years, researchers from the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, School of Medicine Collegium Medicum of the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn have been administering mesenchymal stem cells from the bone marrow or umbilical cord to patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS) in an advanced stage.

Stem cell therapy used by Olsztyn specialists is intended to delay the development of these diseases and improve the quality of life of patients. Currently, there are no effective treatments for these diseases.

"During the implementation of these programs, patients suffering from other neurological diseases, such as multiple system atrophy, PSP (progressive supranuclear palsy), Kennedy's syndrome or other rare neurodegenerative diseases started to come to us. These diseases have different backgrounds, but the mechanism involves the disappearance of parts of the brain" - says Dr. Tomasz Siwek from the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery.

He explains that each of these diseases has a different cause, not all are clearly explained, but as a result of various phenomena: metabolic, genetic or storage ones, neurons are damaged.

"Administering stem cells will not remove the cause of the disease, but it will slow down the phenomenon of nerve cell depletion in the central system" - he emphasises.

The effect of stem cells is be that by multiplying they secrete chemical compounds that inhibit the process of apoptosis (suicidal death) of nerve cells. In addition, they trigger the immune system modulating effect, inhibiting the auto-degradation processes induced by immunological phenomena - he explains.

Researchers plan to use mesenchymal myeloid cells and umbilical cord cells in the project.

"There are induced pluripotent cells in which, through certain biotechnological manipulations, the possibility of producing different types of cells is restored. We want to use these cells because of their potential and lack of ethical doubts associated with embryonic cells" - explains Dr. Siwek.

He adds that a maturing mesenchymal stem cell becomes a more diverse form and will no longer produce other types of tissues or cells. On the other hand, induced cells are "reprogrammed", you can "reverse them through differentiation" and force them to regain the potential for transformation, for example into nerve cells - he says.

PAP - Science in Poland

author: Agnieszka Libudzka

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