Therapy to Counteract the Aging Process by Repairing Tissue Damage
MSCs are characterized by their capability of self-renewal and multipotency to turn into various cell types that constitute bone, cartilage, liver, nerve, heart muscle, etc. Moreover, MSCs migrate to a site of tissue damage, and secrete cytokines and exosomes, which contain microRNAs. Those secreted factors recruit and activate various types of cells so that they can effectively repair the damaged tissue. Thus, MSCs play a pivotal role in tissue repair and regeneration.
Such characteristics of MSCs make them an excellent candidate to cure various diseases and undesirable conditions, for which no effective treatments are available.
Clinical Applications of MSCs
At Tokyo Clinic we are currently providing treatments for liver dysfunction and joint injuries, e.g., osteoarthritis of the knee, using adipose tissue-derived MSCs.
MSC Therapy for Liver Dysfunction
Liver dysfunction from fatty liver, hepatitis or liver cirrhosis causes prolonged inflammation that may result in the development of liver cancer. At Tokyo Clinic liver dysfunction can be treated using MSCs, which have a potential to differentiate into hepatocytes. In addition, MSCs secrete biologically active substances that can suppress inflammation, alleviate fibrosis, and promote hepatic regeneration. These characteristics make MSCs an attractive therapeutic tool to improve liver dysfunction and to reduce the risk of liver cancer development.
MSC Therapy for Joint Injuries
Joint injuries (e.g., osteoarthritis of the knee) can lead to the abrasion of joint cartilage and severe joint pain. Joint injuries can also be treated using MSCs at Tokyo Clinic. MSCs have a potential to differentiate into chondrocytes and osteocytes. In addition, MSCs secrete biologically active substances that can suppress joint inflammation, reduce pain, and improve joint mobility.
The Procedure of MSC Therapy
The actual procedure of MSC therapy at Tokyo Clinic in treating liver dysfunction and joint injuries is as follows.
To prepare adipose tissue-derived MSCs, subcutaneous fat tissue of your own is collected under local anesthesia. The collected tissue is processed at a cell processing facility in Japan that is officially certified by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Japan to isolate and culture MSCs. The prepared MSCs are administered to you at Tokyo Clinic.
In treating liver dysfunction MSCs are administered via intravenous infusion while MSCs are injected directly into the joint cavity to treat joint injuries. The use of autologous cells (meaning your own cells) makes the MSC treatment quite safe; it hardly causes allergic reaction or cellular rejection.
Once administered, MSCs should migrate to injury sites in response to the signals from damaged tissues and play key roles in the repair process.
Prospect of MSC Therapy
Successful application of MSC therapy to liver dysfunction and joint injuries has been reported on human patients. On the other hand, the usefulness of MSC therapy for some other diseases has been demonstrated only in animal models thus far. Such diseases include stroke, myocardial infarction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, interstitial pneumonia, inflammatory bowel disease, acute kidney injury, multiple sclerosis, menopausal disorders, chronic skin wounds, androgenetic alopecia. MSC therapy is expected to show efficacy against those diseases in the future.