Cell Therapy: A Promising Therapy For Autoimmune Disease
Cell Therapy: The Future For Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune disease is becoming a major health problem globally. According to increasing evidence, the prevalence and incident of autoimmune diseases are on a steady rise in the last decade. Recent reports have indicated that autoimmune diseases collectively affect 5–10% of the developed world’s population. This under-recognised class of diseases is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in female children and women in all age groups up to 64 years of age. Although accurate statistics on the global prevalence of autoimmune diseases in women are difficult to ascertain, they are considered a significant cause of chronic illness and death. It tends to affect women, as they are three times more likely to develop autoimmune disease than men.
Today researchers have identified 80-100 different autoimmune diseases and suspect at least 40 additional diseases of having an autoimmune basis, impacting almost every major organ system in the body. These diseases are chronic and can be life-threatening. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an example of the most common autoimmune disease that affects women more than men, with a lifetime risk of 4% for women and 3% for men. Men and women tend to differ in their basic immune response, with women producing a more active immune response and increased antibody production.
Can Cell Therapy Help Autoimmune Disease?
Autoimmune diseases share many similar symptoms affecting many parts of the body, making them a challenging condition to diagnose. It’s also possible to have more than one at the same time. Initial symptoms are often intermittent and unspecific until the disease becomes acute.
Currently, treatment for autoimmune diseases focuses on relieving symptoms, especially during flare-ups and preventing further complications because there is no known cure. Medical interventions include immunosuppressive medication, hormone replacement therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, pain medication and physical therapy. However, commonly used immunosuppressant treatments lead to devastating long-term side effects.
Autoimmune disease can be unpredictable and affect your body in a variety of different ways, attacking different types of body tissue, disrupting organ function, and causing abnormal organ growth. However, whatever shape or form autoimmune disease comes in, there’s always the same common factor: a malfunctioning immune system. Thus, in order to treat autoimmune disease we need to modulate the immune system activity and eliminate the body clean of the faulty immune cells.
Currently, with no curative therapy in sight but rather a spectrum of treatments that work to relieve symptoms, the recent emerging cell therapy is becoming more attractive as a better alternative solution for autoimmune diseases. Its regenerative and positive modulation effect on the immune system are more promising especially when it does not pose any detrimental long-term side effects.
Although we do not yet understand what made the body’s immune system to attack itself, but one thing for sure is that autoimmune disease is caused by faulty immune cells, which originate from hematopoietic stem cells. By essentially regenerating the immune system at the source, cell therapy can reboot it and restore the body’s natural, healthy line of defense. Hence, treating autoimmune diseases with cell therapy seems like the right path and central to finding the ultimate future cure possible.
What Is Autoimmune Disease?
Autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system backfires and mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. Usually the white blood cells in the immune system produce antibodies that would destroy any harmful substances that are invading the body known as antigens. Examples of antigens include bacteria, viruses, toxins, cancer cells, and blood or tissues from another person or species that is not compatible. Autoimmune disease develops when the immune system malfunctions and can’t differentiate between the body’s own cells and those of antigens or harmful foreign substances, attacking the body’s tissue and leading to chronic inflammation.
This confusion caused a hypersensitivity reaction similar to the response in allergic conditions, resulting in an immune response that destroys normal body tissues as well. It can also cause abnormal organ growth and changes in organ function. The impact can affect virtually every organ and any parts of the body, including the endocrine system, connective tissue, gastrointestinal tract, heart, skin, and kidneys.
The cause of autoimmune disease is still unknown today. However, there are many theories about what triggers autoimmune diseases. Heredity, genetics, and environmental triggers are suspected causes that lead to autoimmune diseases. Formal medical education provides minimal knowledge and development about autoimmune disease. Specialists are generally unaware of interrelationships among the different autoimmune diseases or advances in treatment outside their own specialty area.
Reducing the burden of autoimmune disease includes a better understanding of risk factors, more precise diagnoses at an earlier stage when symptoms occur, implementing appropriate therapies, and monitoring treatment. Like most medical condition, a healthy lifestyle practice would greatly increase the odds of managing it as well.
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