Currently there is no known cure, and treatment relies on anti-inflammatories and immunosuppressants, long-term use of which carry significant morbidity. Estimated mortality is 6.8% with the most frequent predictors being active SLE, thromboses, and infections, respectively.
JM is a 26 year old lady who was diagnosed with Sjogren’s and SLE via 1997 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) guidelines at the age of 13 years old. She has several family members with Connective Tissue Disorder diagnoses. She has cycled through various anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressants over the years with limited efficacy. Thirteen years after diagnosis, JM attended Intellihealth Plus clinic in Bangkok, Thailand for mesenchymal stem cell therapy. The following laboratory results were obtained: positive ds-DNA, positive ANA, positive RF. Using ACR criteria, the following were met: malar rash, photosensitivity, nonerosive arthritis, pericarditis, mild hemolytic anemia with reticulocytosis, immunologic disorder (positive ds-DNA), and positive ANA. Medications before treatment include: Plaquenil, methocarbamol, klonopin, imuran, trazodone, prozac, etodolac, synthroid, prilosec.
A multidisciplined integrative medicine treatment protocol was designed using 100M mesenchymal stem cells delivered intravenously, and GcMAF intramuscularly, in combination with vitamin D3/calcium supplementation. The mesenchymal stem cells were delivered in four injections of 25M each over 3 weeks. The treatment protocol was tolerated well without complications and patient returned to the U.S. to follow up with her primary physicians and rheumatologist. JM reported improvement in multijoint pain and stiffness at approximately 3 months and began tapering off medications. All medications were discontinued by month eight without complication; JM reported complete resolution of all symptoms. The post treatment laboratory results obtained were: centromere Ab, histone Ab, ds-DNA Ab, JO Ab, RNA Ab, Smith Ab, SCL Ab, SSA Ab, SSB Ab all negative. JM is approximately one year status post treatment, off all medications, and continues to remain symptom free. Repeated laboratory analyses are negative. JM has since become pregnant and looks forward to a normal lifestyle in the future.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are pluripotent progenitor cell lines that are able to differentiate into specialized cell types through mitosis such as: cartilage, bone, and connective tissue, etc. Mesenchymal stem cells have also been demonstrated to affect T and B lymphocytes, natural killer, and antigen presenting cells.
MSCs have anti-inflammatory properties but are hypo-immunogenic with low major histocompatibility complex. They do not, therefore, require HLA 3 testing, thus making mesenchymal stem cells safe for administration. Several sites have been used to harvest MSC’s including, bone marrow, brain, and adipose tissue.
The umbilical cord derived purified mesenchymal stem cells used for treatment were obtained from Stem Cells 21 Ltd. in Thailand which utilises a five step process for 1st pass culturing to ensure maximal numbers of young, metabolically active cells:
GcMAF is a serum glycoprotein which can be converted by beta-galactosidase of B cells and sialidase of T cells to a potent macrophage activating factor (MAF) 5. Macrophage is responsible for detecting, engulfing and destroying pathogens.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an inflammatory mediated autoimmune disease which oftens severely limits the patient’s activities of daily living (ADL) through fatigue, arthritis, pain, and multiple organ impairment. Curative therapies for SLE have been elusive to date, making chronic immunosuppressive therapy with its associated long term side effects, problematic. To our knowledge, this is the first SLE case to show clinical and laboratory remission after therapy using mesenchymal stem cells and GcMAF. The combination of MSC with GcMAF has three main advantages:
1. Mild immunosuppression
2. Robust anti-inflammatory effects.
3. Repair of damaged cell lines.
Mesenchymal stem cell therapy with GcMAF is well tolerated with minimal potential complications. Our patient had no complications or side effects of therapy, and clinical and diagnostic improvement has been sustained for approximately one year. Additional research should help shed light on whether MSC and GcMAF therapy will show a consistent pattern of disease reversal over time.
YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAnEnZHmY2A
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