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What the Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Therapy Treating Ataxia?
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What the Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Therapy Treating Ataxia?

Ataxia is a clinical neurological sign that often is a symptom of many Neurodegenerative diseases. Ataxia typically consists of deficiency of coordination of muscle movements that includes gait (walking) abnormality. Ataxia is not specific to one disease, but it’s usually a clinical manifestation showing a dysfunction of the parts of the nervous system controlling movement coordination, more specifically the cerebellum (i.e. Cerebellar Ataxia).

Although they are many treatments used for Ataxia, there is no specific cure for Ataxia, and the treatments available do not eliminate the effects of Ataxia entirely. Mainly Pharmacological therapy (with the taking of Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamin E and Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole) are used to treat Ataxia or Physical Therapy through Ataxia rehabilitation which reduces disability but does not treat it.

However, medical experts may have come up with a very good form of Prophylaxis (treatment) to get better results in the treatment of this disease, and this is in the form of Stem Cell treatment.

Stem cell therapy provides access to an extensive treatment protocol for Ataxia which utilises higher quantities of stem cells, innovative stem cell growth factors, extensive rehabilitation and many supportive therapies and supplements, the combination of Stem cell therapy with other functional medical treatments has proved to help achieve significant improvements.



What are the Pros (advantages) of Stem Cell Therapy in Treating Ataxia?

Well there are many reasons why Stem cells work for Ataxia. It provides Neuroprotection, meaning there is a reduction in the rate of neuronal loss over time, thus slowing down the severity of Ataxia over time and lessening the chances of other Neurodegenerative diseases that enhance/promote Ataxia to occur.

Stem cells work by aiding in giving nutrition to dying cells and thus results in the revitalising of the cells to help slow down the disease’s progression and provide relief to the patient’s symptoms. Stem cell Therapy also may promote the regeneration of neurones and this helps to reverse the effects of Ataxia and to reverse the effects of Neurodegeneration. Studies on Humans and animals both showed that Using stem cell treatment is not only effective in treating the disease, but is also therapeutically safe (i.e. there are no harmful or permanent side effects that come with it) and Stem cell transplantation is very effective.

Conclusions of various medical studies have shown that the use of Stem cell Treatment has increased the mobility of ataxia patients, resulted in better balance and coordination, vastly bettered the fine and gross motor skills of the patients and have caused the patients to have better speech and cognitive skills. This has led to a better quality of life among the ataxia patients who received stem cell treatment. The progression of the Disease was also significantly slower in patients with Progressive/Severe Ataxia. However it is still important to note that Stem cell treatment is not a cure for this disease and will not change the underlying cause of neuronal loss. The time patients take to start seeing improvement when using stem cell treatment varies, but may be as fast as 1 year.

One of the biggest advantages of Stem Cell treatment in Ataxia Patients is that it researchers believe it will help to treat other diseases in the future such as Cancer and Parkinson’s disease (which is directly linked to causing some forms of Ataxia) and also in treating other neurological disorders, thus can be used to treat patients with multiple diseases who are also suffering from Ataxia.

Stem cell therapy, it is believed, will be the key to reversing aging one day, which is one of the main causes of Ataxia .This makes it possible that one day even patients with severe/progressive Ataxia can be completely normal again.


What are the Cons (Disadvantages) of Stem Cell Treatment in Treating Ataxia?

When using Stem Cell Therapy, there are some risks of rejection as mostly the cells used are embryonic and thus will not come from the same human body as the ataxia patient. Because the stem cells are going to be transplanted into the patient, this is always a result to be expected or likely unless the patient is put under immunosuppressive drugs to limit/stop the chances of stem cell rejection.

Stem cell therapy is also still a very new field of medical prophylaxis and so it is not certain that there will be no long term effects. This in particular presents a danger for these ataxia patients who are suffering from a Neurodegenerative disease if the patients are of a younger age.

It is also difficult to use Adult stem cells due to the fact that adult stem cells of a particular origin e.g. the brain can only generate cells of that particular type e.g. stem cells originating from the brain would only generate brain cells. Thus it may be difficult to find Adult brain stem cells and so it is more likely that embryonic stem cells which have a higher chance of rejection will be used.

As of now, Stem Cell therapy is too slow to produce results, and is also very expensive, thus discouraging to the greater population of people suffering from Ataxia. It is not a cure, but rather a very expensive form of Palliative treatment, which makes it unfavourable compared to Physical ataxia rehabilitation which can be done in the comfort of your own home, and pharmacological therapy which is still relatively cheaper.

Overall, Stem cell research, though very promising, is still under the process of research in most cases and so its permanent use as a treatment of Ataxia is still not certain as a number of things still need to be established before it is used as a treatment line. It is the great hope that one day Stem cell treatment will be advanced enough to stop and even reverse the effects of Ataxia. For now, however, it remains a promising option whose results are still to sporadic to believe.

It is with great hope that the medical field believes Stem cell treatment may be the answer to Ataxia.

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