Advanced stem cell therapy for serious gastrointestinal diseases
Ongoing research shows how stem cell therapy can control inflammation and balance immune response to ease symptoms
You might use many expressions to describe your feelings based not on what’s on your mind – but what’s going on at a lower level in your body -- your gut.
For example, you might have a “gut feeling” about a situation. Or when making a key decision, decide to “go with your gut.”
Why would we refer to our digestive systems to describe our thoughts and feelings? Isn’t that what our brains are for?
Actually, there’s scientific evidence that the digestive system does influence mental processes and can even play a role in the development of conditions such as anxiety and depression. Some scientists refer to the gut as a “second brain,” or more precisely the “enteric nervous system” to describe the layers of millions of nervous system cells that span the entire digestive system.
That’s why maintaining good gut health plays a key role in both our physical and mental well-being. Nutrition and lifestyle certainly play a role, but it also requires that we keep trillions of microbes that live inside of each of us healthy as well – a community of microorganisms called the microbiome.
Meet your microbiome:
The “non-human” you
Even if you’ve already read about the microbiome, you usually don’t think about it much, but there’s an active and diverse community of bacteria and other microbes within your digestive system – hundreds of different species – that work together to help digest food, regulate our immune system, and produce key vitamins we need, such as B6, B12, and folic acid.
Not only is the microbiome a diverse system, it evolves very differently in each of us. Two humans may look alike – even be identical twins – but their microbiomes may not look the same at all. Yet the microbiome is essential. We couldn’t live without one, and these tiny microbes depend on us to thrive as well.
The number of microbes in this “non-human” body system may be measured in trillions, but each organism is quite small. Yet the microbiome in each of us can weigh up to four pounds. That’s more than the average human brain weighs!
Keeping the microbiome healthy is important to maintaining overall health. If your microbiome is happy, you’re likely to be happier with a body that suffers from less inflammation and more likely to enjoy a more balanced immune system.
But some patients – even those who seem to have healthy microbiomes – can suffer from a wide range of digestive disorders. It’s important to note that patients may suffer from symptoms that aren’t the result of any disease. For example, indigestion or irritable bowel syndrome may not be caused by an organic disorder at all.
Other diseases, however, are organic in nature. Two of them are associated with inflammation and the onset of serious and chronic symptoms — Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In recent years, scientists and physicians have been studying stem cell therapy as a treatment for these diseases
How stem cells work to treat gastrointestinal disorders
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that’s characterized by an abnormal immune system response which can cause inflammation, bleeding, and ulcers along the lining of the lower digestive system. This disease can develop at any age, but it’s most likely to begin at between ages 15 and 30.
Crohn’s disease causes many of the same symptoms as ulcerative colitis, but can also cause an inappropriate level of weight loss as well as an inability to properly absorb nutrients from food. And Crohn’s disease can affect the entire digestive system – not just the lower bowel.
The cause of each of these diseases isn’t clear, but both are associated with excess inflammation, so they are classified as inflammatory bowel diseases. Recent research shows that stem cells can help treat a wide variety of inflammatory disorders throughout the body – so this type of therapy may help patients who suffer from ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
One study(1) suggests that stem cells can help signal other cells in the body to function more effectively to ease inflammation and protect the lining of the digestive system to offer potential therapeutic benefits. Another scientific review(2) explains that stem cells may help the body promote healing and improve regulation of the immune system.
According to BioXcellerator Chief Medical Officer, Karolynn Halpert, other research studies show that a specific type of stem cell – mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from donated umbilical cord tissue – can be highly effective at easing inflammation. This is because they help reduce levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase the levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines in the digestive system and throughout the body. She points out that research(3) suggests that MSCs may help protect digestive tissues by secreting various growth factors, cytokines, and exosomes that can promote healing.
“Stem cell therapy is based on the body’s natural repair processes,” she explains. “These treatments show promise at treating other inflammatory conditions, such as in nervous system, the musculoskeletal system, and others — so stem cells may also be able to help patients with diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.”
Minimally invasive treatment: High-potency stem cells
These gastrointestinal disorders can be serious. Ulcerative colitis can get so severe in some patients that colostomy surgery may be a last resort. Medications may help control these diseases, but recently many patients have turned to stem cell therapy as another treatment option in addition to medications and lifestyle changes.
Recently, however, many patients have turned to stem cell therapy as an alternative to other forms of treatment. The procedure is minimally invasive – an IV administration of stem cells.
As Dr. Halpert points out, the stem cells used at BioXcellerator come from donated umbilical cords because this tissue is rich in mesenchymal stem cells that offer the best potential for treatment. Based on a proprietary protocol, these cells are carefully screened for specific properties that indicate the highest possible potency and to eliminate cells that may be diseased.
Remaining cells are then purified, and then cultured and expanded into infusions of millions of BioX Signature Cells used for each treatment.
And because each patient’s health needs are unique, we customize our treatments and recommend other dietary and lifestyle suggestions that can help improve treatment outcomes.
If you’ve got a gut feeling that stem cell therapy might help you improve your health, why not schedule an initial consultation with a patient advocate? We’d be happy to evaluate your needs and explain more about how stem cell therapy may help.
Gersemann, M., Stange, E. F., & Wehkamp, J. (2011). From intestinal stem cells to inflammatory bowel diseases. World journal of gastroenterology, 17(27), 3198–3203. https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v17.i27.3198
Binienda, A., Ziolkowska, S., Hauge, I. H., & Salaga, M. (2020). The Role of Immune and Epithelial Stem Cells in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Therapy. Current drug targets, 21(14), 1405–1416. https://doi.org/10.2174/1389450121666200504074922
(3) https://doi.org/10.1186/s13287-019-1336-4 Shi, X., Chen, Q. & Wang, F. Células madre mesenquimales para el tratamiento de la colitis ulcerosa: una revisión sistemática y metanálisis de estudios experimentales y clínicos. Stem Cell Res Ther 10, 266 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13287-019-1336-4
If you’re interested in learning more about advanced stem cell therapy and determining if stem cell therapy is right for you.