10 Jan Patients Suffering From Scleroderma Could Get Relief Through Stem Cell Therapy
Scleroderma is a progressive autoimmune disorder that causes chronic pain, most often in the fingers and hands of patients suffering from this condition. This painful condition can limit what patients can do every day. The swelling that scleroderma causes in hands and feet can be controlled with medications, but there is no known cure for this disease. Stem cell therapy is offering patients with scleroderma potential relief from their painful symptoms.
What is Scleroderma?
Scleroderma refers to a range of disorders in which the skin and connective tissues tighten and harden. It is considered a rheumatic disease and connective tissue disorder. It is also thought to be an autoimmune condition, in which the body’s immune system attacks the body’s tissues. This results in an overproduction of collagen, the protein that forms the basis of connective tissue. The result is a thickening, or fibrosis, and scarring of tissue.
Scleroderma is not contagious. It may run in families, but it often occurs in patients without any family history of the disease. It ranges from very mild to potentially fatal. Early symptoms of scleroderma include changes in the fingers and hands, for example, stiffness, tightness, and puffiness because of sensitivity to cold or emotional stress. There may be swelling in the hands and feet, especially in the morning. However, symptoms will vary according to the type and how it affects the person, and whether it affects one part of the body or a whole body system.
The two main types of scleroderma are localized and systemic. Localized scleroderma mainly affects the skin, but it may have an impact on the muscles and bones. Systemic scleroderma affects the whole body, including the blood and internal organs, and especially the kidneys, esophagus, heart, and lungs. Localized scleroderma is the mildest form and it does not affect the internal organs. It is not known what causes scleroderma, but it is thought to be an autoimmune condition that causes the body to produce too much connective tissue. This leads to thickening, or fibrosis, and scarring of tissue. Connective tissue forms the fibers that make up the framework that supports the body. They are found under the skin and around the internal organs and blood vessels, and they help support muscles and bones. Genetic factors are thought to play a role and possibly environmental factors, but this has not been confirmed.
How Can Stem Cell Therapy Help Patients Suffering From Scleroderma?
There is currently no cure for scleroderma and the condition will continue to progress as patient age, potentially becoming fatal. Stem cell therapy could help patients suffering from more severe forms of this condition. Doctors have successfully controlled and reversed the symptoms of scleroderma with stem cell therapy. Patients received better results from stem cell therapy treatments than with the immune-suppressing drugs that are commonly used to control scleroderma. This treatment method may one day help patients suffering from painful scleroderma symptoms.