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by Kirik

Stem cell treatment in optic atrophy – new chance to fight b

Stem cells are progenitors of adult cell types in the human organism. As the pluripotent systems, they are capable of forming all tissues or organs.

Date:   7/31/2019 9:39:34 AM   ( 3 y ) ... viewed 1431 times

Stem cells are progenitors of adult cell types in the human organism. As the pluripotent systems, they are capable of forming all tissues or organs. This property underlies application of stem cells in the optic nerve atrophy treatment.

Introduction of the additional stem cells into the damaged area leads to the regeneration of the nerve fiber and restoration of the coordinated visual system work. This kind of treatment may be performed at different stages of the vision loss.

Causes and manifestations of the optic nerve degeneration

The optic nerve starts from the nervous tunic of eyeball (retina) and conducts visual stimuli from the eye to the visual brain cortex. Once any part of this chain is broken, a person loses ability to perceive visual information.

The optic nerve fibers suffer in the following cases:

  • Ischemic optic neuropathy in poor blood supply (e.g. in patients with atherosclerosis).
  • Increased intraocular pressure (glaucoma).
  • Direct traumatic damage.
  • Influence of toxins (including certain medications) and radiation.
  • Multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders.
  • Stroke.
  • Brain tumors that compress the optic nerve area.
  • Hereditary conditions (e.g. Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy).

The symptoms of the optic nerve atrophy include:

  • Blurred vision – sharpness of eyesight is lost, objects appear hazy.
  • Difficulties with the peripheral vision – objects aside a person appear out of focus, while objects ahead a person are seen normally.
  • Difficulties with perception of certain colors – significant red-green defects are detected.
  • Poor sharpness of vision.
  • Total blindness.

The clinical manifestations progress gradually, so it is possible to detect the disease at the early stage and start the appropriate treatment.

Principles of restoring the optic nerve function

There are two principal modes of the stem cell treatment:

  1. Activation of the patient’s own endogenous stem cells by means of growth factors and other stimulating agents.
  2. Introduction of the additional (donor) stem cells into certain retinal zones.

The first approach seems to be easier to perform and tolerate, as no allogeneic material is introduced into the organism. Safety of the approach was confirmed in the Stem Cell Ophthalmology Treatment Study (SCOTS) and a number of additional studies. The problem is the endogenous stem cell supply is limited in adults. Furthermore, the existing cells are often of a low quality. Thus, trying to make them differentiate into the optic nerve fibers may give poor results.

The second approach is more difficult technically, as it involves harvesting and processing of the donor material. Few types of stem cells are used: mesenchymal stem cells of the umbilical cord, embryonic stem and germline cells. Being injected into the target area, donor cells additionally activate local stem cells and repair damaged regions of the optic nerve or even form new nerve fibers.

Doctors elaborate the most beneficial treatment scheme according to the results of ophthalmological examination, including visual field testing, optical coherence tomography, electroretinogram and neuro-imaging. It is better to look for a hospital that offers the whole spectrum of diagnostic and therapeutic options.

How to find a clinic for the stem cell treatment

In the most countries medical application of donor stem cells is regulated by the state law. This allows avoiding misuse and illegal harvesting of the donor material. In a number of countries only allogeneic (own) stem cells can be used. Thus, if you want to undergo the optic atrophy stem cell treatment, it is better not to limit your search by hospitals of your native country.

Legislation of the European countries allows taking the full advantage of the stem cells use in the clinical practice. When considering the optic nerve degeneration therapy, the most outstanding results are demonstrated by Clinic of Advanced Biological Medicine, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany.

The treatment program in the clinic includes thorough preliminary examination, harvesting the own stem cells or processing the suitable donor material, and introducing activated cells into the target region. Obligatory control examinations are performed in order to assess viability of the cell pool and rate of the optic nerve regeneration.

In case you are not a German citizen, you still can undergo therapy in the Clinic of Advanced Biological Medicine, Frankfurt-am-Main, with the assistance of Booking Health. Booking Health is a certified medical tourism provider, an official partner of the leading European hospitals. Specialists of Booking Health will:

  • Prepare the preliminary medical program in advance, so you will be able to assess its duration and cost.
  • Book the appointment on the convenient date.
  • Provide favorable costs and exclude overpricing for foreign patients (saving up to 50%).
  • Monitor medical program at all stages.
  • Arrange additional and control examinations.
  • Facilitate communication with the clinic after program completion.
  • Take care about the trip organization: tickets, accommodation, interpreter, visa, etc.

Leave the request on the website of Booking Health, and medical advisor will contact you the same day to discuss all the details.

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