The results of a recent phase 2 research of stem cell therapy for rheumatoid arthritis can only end up being described in one word: tantalizing. The dramatic results, including symptoms relieved for at least nine months after only one stem cell injection, still need to be validated in a bigger phase 3 study. But that hasn’ t halted RA patients and doctors alike from being carefully eager about the potential for stem cell therapy to relieve an agonizing and debilitating condition.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Autoimmune Disease
Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune dysfunction, impacts more than one 3 million Americans, most of whom are women. This particular chronic disease inhibits the functions of the joints because of stiffness, swelling, and extreme pain. Unfortunately, the swelling caused by RA often causes complications in other parts of the body like the eyes and lungs. In addition to severe stiffness, especially in the early morning, symptoms of RA include loss of energy and appetite.
Since RA is an autoimmune disease, it is caused by the body’ s immune system assaulting healthy joint tissues and causing unnecessary inflammation. Whilst treatment has improved over the last three decades, there is still a lot of progress to be made. Current treatment can help patients stay functioning and near normal levels, but without a remedy the only option is to minimize symptoms as much as possible. The most popular RA pharmaceutical drugs include Enbrel, Remicade, and Humira, even though they have undoubtedly generated billions of dollars in revenue plus helped millions of patients reduce their symptoms, up to forty percent of patients don’ t respond to the medications, and others become resistant to them over time.
Mesoblast’ s Stem Cell Therapy
Mesoblast, a world leader within innovative cellular medicines, tackles RA by utilizing mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs) that can be injected into the body without being authorized by the immune system as foreign invaders. The MPCs after that move immediately to the sites of inflammation and add themselves in the inflamed tissue, essentially interfering with the manufacturing of inflammatory molecules. Unlike medications currently on the market, Mesoblast’ s stem cell treatment delivers relief by solving the root cause of RA, rather than just forcing the immune system in to a weakened state.
The particular Phase 2 study of Mesoblast’ s RA therapy, which is a single intravenous dose of MPCs, demonstrated that this therapy’ s benefits continued nine months after the first injection. The study involved 48 patients, all of whom had been resistant to the existing RA drugs on the market. Mesoblast’ s TOP DOG, Silviu Itescu, remarked, “ The nine month final results generated from this study are highly encouraging. The early and sturdy effects seen from a single infusion of 2 mil MPC/kg support the potential of our allogeneic cell therapy to become positioned as an early treatment option for patients resistant to anti-TNF agents. ”
Mesoblast will now move onto a larger phase 3 study to confirm these promising results and prove exactly how regenerative medication can provide lasting relief, and potentially even a cure, just for patients struggling with RA.