What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s Disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease, meaning the symptoms naturally worsen over time. The likelihood of being diagnosed increases steadily with age but rises sharply after 70. The earliest sign is short-term memory loss that can develop into disorientation, depression, and eventually the inability to speak. Affected patients can even lose the ability to walk, eat, or sit upright.
Although the causes are unknown, Alzheimer’s is believed to be hereditary. Researchers suspect the disease occurs when levels of a certain protein in the brain increase, causing nerve cells to die. In the United States, Alzheimer’s accounts for approximately two-thirds of all dementia cases. Of the top ten causes of death in the U.S., Alzheimer’s Disease is also the only one that cannot be prevented or cured.
How can stem cell therapy help?
Some studies have shown that stem cell therapy has the potential to replace lost or damaged cells, remove beta amyloid plaques, stimulate endogenous cells, and mitigate neuroinflammation and neuronal cell death. Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) have shown promise in a number of pre-clinical animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, although the mechanism of action is not completely understood. Transplantation of MSCs in humans for a variety of conditions has been generally well tolerated, although results have been variable as a function of delivery route, and the variability in potency of cells between donors, tissue sources, and culture conditions has been well documented.