Multiple sclerosis, often referred to as MS, affects 2.3 million people throughout the world. There is often an association between this progressive neurologic disorder and significant disability, as well as expense. The lifetime costs for an individual with MS exceeds $4 million. Treatments are available for the disease, but a cure for MS remains out of reach to date. However, companies like ImStem Biotechnologies are investigating new areas of research to hopefully change that. Their research with stem cell treatments looks quite promising.
Why a Cure for MS is So Challenging
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. It affects the brain and spinal cord. Antibodies attack the myelin coating on these nerves, which can result in a variety of problems. Paralysis, numbness, incoordination, double vision, and blindness are just a few of the more severe effects.
Ideally, a cure for MS would target the issue that is causing the autoimmune reaction. But the exact cause of MS remains unknown. Therefore, therapies available today seek to reduce the inflammation caused by MS and promote nerve repair. Until the exact cause is known, developing an actual cure for MS will be difficult.
ImStem Biotechnologies Unique Approach
Though a cure for MS does not exist, ImStem Biotechnologies is taking a different approach in treating the disorder. Stem cell research looks promising for several reasons. First, stem cells can help regulate the immune system by reducing its level of activity. For autoimmune diseases, this is a good thing.
Stem cell treatments also help nerves repair and regenerate tissue damage by the autoimmune process. Also, because stem cell treatments introduce human cells and not drugs, side effects are not expected. This is why ImStem Biotechnologies is bold on its stem cell treatments in advancing a cure for MS.
How Stem Cell Treatment Works in MS
In essence, stem cell treatments provide cells that can develop into a number of different tissues. ImStem Biotechnologies use mesenchymal stem cells, which means these cells can develop into a variety of different tissues. As a result, stem cell treatments have the potential to help individuals with MS improve.
Additionally, the stem cell treatments developed by ImStem Biotechnologies suppress the immune system and have very low levels of inflammation. In seeking a cure for MS, this is also a desirable feature of the therapy. ImStem Biotechnologies believes this is why their stem cell treatments show effective results in animal research studies.
ImStem Biotechnologies Focus on Human Embryo Stem Cells
Different types of stem cell treatments exist. Some stem cells are derived from the bone marrow (BM). However, ImStem Biotechnologies develop their stem cell treatments from human embryos (hES). This makes a difference because hES stem cell treatments promote healing in Multiple Sclerosis and reduce inflammation.
BM stem cells do not seem to have this effect. In addition, hES stem cells can cross into the brain and spinal cord. This allows these stem cells to potentially carry other treatments into the central nervous system where MS inflammation occurs.
Moving Closer to a Cure for Multiple Sclerosis
ImStem Biotechnologies was founded in 2012 as a spinoff of the University of Connecticut Stem Core Lab. The advancements that ImStem Biotechnologies are making toward a cure for MS are in part due to the company’s support.
ImStem Biotechnologies enjoys over $1.1 million in grant funding and private capital funding. This facilitated ImStem Biotechnologies’ success in attaining a patent in 2017 for its stem cell treatments.
At this point in time, ImStem Biotechnologies plans to launch Phase I trials soon. If effective, the company stands to benefit greatly from its proprietary stem cell treatment manufacturing process. Their methods produce 200 times more yield in stem cells with less processing time and 75% less cost. Though this may not be a cure for MS, stem cell treatments offer great potential for better MS care. This is great news for MS sufferers.