A new stem cell therapy focused on age-associated frailty has seen success in its first two human trials. The treatment extracted adult stem cells called mesenchymal stem cells, or MSC, from bone marrow and infused them into patients with an average age of 76. The main purpose of these trials was to test for safety, and both phases showed no adverse health effects from the treatment.
Six months after the trial, patients showed better fitness outcomes and tumor necrosis factor levels, and reported an overall better quality of life. The trials will continue into the next phase with more subjects and locations before a final phase 3 trial that could be the last step before approval.
Age-Related Frailty Syndrome
For those over the age of 75, frailty syndrome is a real concern. It causes muscle loss, weight loss and exhaustion. Quality of life is severely affected, and the risk of falls and hospitalization increases drastically for those with the condition. Stem cells are an important part of the body’s natural healing and regeneration process. However, as we get older, the number of stem cells in our body decreases.
According to a report from the United States Census Bureau, 40 percent of Americans 65 and older reported a disability. Two-thirds of those reported difficulty walking or climbing, demonstrating that mobility problems, usually a result of pain in the joints or arthritis, are a major concern for older Americans.
One of the best ways to avoid age-related frailty is through exercise, according to Dr. Ahvie Herskowitz, founder of San Francisco Stem Cell Treatment Center and Antara Medicine. But this may seem difficult due to the mobility issues most patients with the condition face.
“Pain and difficulty with mobility often cause elderly patients to avoid exercise, which only contributes to weak muscles and the likelihood of falls and injuries,” said Herskowitz. “Inflammation in the joints is a common cause for these mobility concerns, and if we address that, we can get them moving and stronger again.”
Stem Cell Therapy Joint Pain
At his practice in San Francisco, Herskowitz is studying stem cell therapy for joint pain, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and anti-aging.
“Stem cell therapy offers a potential treatment alternative using the anti-inflammatory and healing effects of mesenchymal stem cells and growth factors,” he said.
Using the patient’s own stem cells, Herskowitz injects a concentrated sample into the area of pain, treating knees, shoulders, hips, elbows, wrists, ankles and more. Still not approved by the FDA, stem cell therapy is considered experimental, and practices offering the treatments are conducting clinical studies in hopes to one day have it approved.
“We’ve seen great outcomes from our patients here at the San Francisco Stem Cell Treatment Center,” said Herskowitz. “Seeing improvement in the quality of life of my patients is why I do what I do.”