How Beneficial is Stem Cell Therapy for Spinocerebellar Ataxia?
Spinocerebellar ataxia is a neurodegenerative illness that affects balance, motor coordination, and gait. There is currently no cure for it, and most treatment options are rehabilitative. Recently, studies have demonstrated that stem cell therapy can potentially delay the progression of the disease and thus give patients a chance at a longer and better life. Read on to know more about why stem cell therapy is the best spinocerebellar ataxia treatment that you can opt for.
Understanding spinocerebellar ataxia
Spinocerebellar ataxia, spinocerebellar atrophy, or spinocerebellar degeneration is a genetic disease caused by either a recessive or dominant gene. It refers to a group of ataxias that are known to be hereditary and cause harm to the cerebellum, the part of the brain which maintains balance and controls movements. Spinocerebellar ataxia may result in non-coordinated gait, impaired hand-eye coordination, and abnormal speech. Because this condition affects the nervous system, it is also known as a nervous disorder. The best spinocerebellar ataxia treatment involves extensive neuro-rehabilitation, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy to improve quality of life.
How stem cell therapy works
Stem cells possess the ability to transform into different kinds of human cells, which means that through suitable application, stem cells can be turned into neurons to replace the ones lost or damaged in spinocerebellar ataxia, thereby restoring neural function to a point where the patient recovers enough mobility and function to live a more independent life. There are two types of stem cells that a clinic may opt for, namely embryonic and adult. Embryonic stem cells can proliferate much faster and into many more types of cells, making the scope of their application much broader. On the other hand, adult stem cells are likelier to be accepted by the patient’s body at the first go, and require lesser pre-treatment prior to application than embryonic stem cells.
Benefits of stem cell therapy for spinocerebellar ataxia
At present, spinocerebellar ataxia is a degenerative disease with no cure and no way to significantly prolong the patient’s lifespan. Treatment mostly addresses the external symptoms, not the underlying cause, and patients will usually survive about 15-20 years after the diagnosis. The use of stem cell therapy can change this, as damaged neurons in the cerebellum can now be replaced. Here’s why it is the best option for patients.
- Permanent results: Stem cell therapy permanently replaces the tissues and organs damaged in patients with spinocerebellar ataxia. Once the course of treatment is complete, the results last a lifetime.
- Less downtime: At the best stem cell therapy clinics, the treatment is minimally invasive and physicians take care to minimize the risks of side effects. This means that post-treatment recovery time is lower and patients can lead their usual lives between appointments.
- Treating secondary pain: Patients with spinocerebellar ataxia are at higher risk for injuries and falls owing to poor muscle and movement coordination. Stem cell therapy has been demonstrated to be highly effective in treating pain, allowing patients to experience a more comfortable life overall.
- Safe: Stem cell therapy for spinocerebellar ataxia usually involves the use of adult stem cells, which are usually accepted by the patient’s body without trouble. In particular, if doctors take the stem cells from the patient’s own tissue, the process is completely safe.
Before opting for stem cell therapy, it is important to ask the right questions about where the stem cells will be obtained from, how they will be transported and stored, and what precautions the healthcare team will be taking against stem cell rejection as well as the consequent side effects. The more informed you are, the more confident you will be about undergoing the treatment, and the closer you will be to a new lease on life.