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Advanced Stem Cell Therapy for Sickle Cell Anemia in Mexico


Many diseases like sickle cell anemia have not been known to have a definitive cure. Stem cell therapy has not been used as a very common treatment option around the world. Even in places where it is done, it is usually unaffordable.

Stem Cell therapy for Sickle Cell Anemia in Mexico presents the average individual with a chance to avail this treatment. In Mexico, this treatment is being provided at very low costs as compared to the USA or Canada.

Statistics on Sickle Cell Anemia

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) in the USA, the statistics relating to Sickle Cell Anemia:

  • Approximately 100,000 Americans are affected by SCD.
  • 1 out of every 16,300 Hispanic-American children is born with SCD.
  • About 1 out of every 365 Black or African-American births suffer from SCD.
  • About 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies are born with sickle cell trait (SCT).

Even from the Public Health point of view, SCD is a major concern. Approximately 75,000 hospitalizations were documented in the USA from 1989 to 1993, due to SCD, costing approximately $475 million.

What is Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle Cell Anemia is a Genetic disorder. The basic defect lies in the structure of Hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying component of the blood. Due to this defect, the Red Blood Cells (RBCs) which are normally disc-shaped, become sickle-shaped. This is sometimes known as Sickling of RBCs.

This sickling also makes them rigid. The final result is decreased oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, leading to a decline in the health of various organs and tissues.

Sickle Cell Anemia can be of two main kinds:

  • Sickle Cell Disease: This happens when the child inherits one defective gene from each parent, making it a defective pair. This is the severe form of sickle cell anemia.
  • Sickle Cell Trait: Individuals who inherit one defective and one healthy gene are said to be carriers of the sickle cell trait. The symptoms, in this case, may be mild or non-existent.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia
Symptom Explanation
Anemia The deficiency of oxygen in the circulation will cause anemia. The patient will have a pale appearance.
Pain episodes Pain in SCAD can either be vaso-occlusive pain or neuropathic pain.

Vaso-occlusive pain is caused when the inflexible sickle-shaped RBCs block the blood supply to the bones and joints.

Neuropathic pain occurs when the blood doesn’t reach the nerves in the body.

The patient’s hands and feet might also show swelling due to these blockages in the blood vessels.

These pain episodes are also known as Crises.

Frequent Infections The spleen is the organ which helps fight infections. If it doesn’t receive the required amount of oxygen and nutrients, it will be ineffective.
Delayed growth The body, on the whole, needs its regular supply of nutrients and oxygen. In the absence of these, the growth of various organs and tissues is stunted.
Vision problems Blood vessels supplying the tissues of the eyes are very narrow. Their blockage will lead to a damaged Retina. This may cause blurring or loss of vision.

Why Stem Cell Therapy for Sickle Cell Anemia?

Stem cell treatment works on the principle of Regeneration. The mother cells (stem cells) extracted from the donor are activated and infused into the recipient’s body.

Stem cells divide into daughter cells. These daughter cells are guided into becoming specific cells which promote repair response of injured or diseased tissue. These are known as Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (IPSCs).

Thus, stem cells can be used to treat a large number of degenerative diseases. Here are some of these diseases:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Autism
  • Thalassemia
  • COPD

A research study was done between 2004 and 2013, to see how successful stem cell therapy is. Thirty patients, ages 16 to 65, with severe sickle cell disease enrolled in the study. The findings of the study were as follows:

  • In 26 out of the 30 patients, the disease was reversed.
  • The hemoglobin levels were normal.
  • There were fewer hospitalizations.
  • Significantly decreased use of narcotics to treat the pain.
  • No graft versus host disease after a mean follow up period of 3.4 years.
  • After 1 year, 15 patients successfully stopped the use of immunosuppressant medication.

Stem cell transplantation vs Bone marrow transplantation

Stem cells can be extracted either from the bone marrow or from the peripheral blood.

Peripheral blood is the blood which is being circulated in the body.

If the stem cells are taken from the bone marrow, the process will be called Bone Marrow Transplantation. The cells extracted in this case are Hematopoietic Stem Cells. They will divide to form the three kinds of blood cells, i.e., Red and White blood cells, and Platelets.

The stem cells taken from Peripheral Blood will form other body tissues like the heart tissue or the lung tissue. This has applications in congenital heart disorders or other degenerative diseases.

The only difference, therefore, in the two procedures is the location from which stem cells are extracted.

What are the chances that my child will get Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder which is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. To interpret what this means, you must first understand the structure of a gene.

Genes are made up of DNA. Each person has two copies of a gene, one from each parent. These genes will determine the unique qualities of an individual.

Sickle Cell Anemia is a result of a mutation in the gene which is concerned with Hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying component of blood. HbA, which is normal adult hemoglobin, changes to HbS, a mutated form of hemoglobin.

On the cellular level, the Red Blood Cells which carry Hemoglobin and are normally disc-like, become sickle-shaped and inflexible. Practically, this means that the sickled RBCs block the flow of blood in the body, leading to a shortage of oxygen supply to the organs.

With this inheritance pattern, there are 4 possibilities:

Inheritance of the Sickle Cell Gene

Parent-1

Parent-2 Child

Sickle Cell Trait

Healthy

  • 0% chance of having Sickle Cell Disease (SCAD).
  • 50% chance of having the Sickle Cell Trait.

Sickle Cell Trait

Sickle Cell Trait

  • 25% chance of having Sickle Cell Disease.
  • 50% chance of having Sickle Cell Trait.

Sickle Cell Trait

Sickle Cell Disease

  • 50% chance of having Sickle Cell Disease.
  • None of the kids will be completely healthy.

Sickle Cell Disease

Healthy

  • All children will have the Sickle Cell Trait.
  • None of them will have Sickle Cell Disease.

The Procedure for Stem Cell Therapy in Sickle Cell Disease

  1. Consultation:

The patient gets a free consultation with the concerned doctor. The doctor will perform an examination. Your past medical records, as well as the latest tests, will be evaluated. Every bit of information about your medical condition should be conveyed to the doctor.

  1. Planning the Treatment:

The team of doctors will come to a provisional treatment plan. Along with the treatment plan, the costing is also discussed with the patient. If you have any doubts about the procedure, time period or price, you can ask our experts right away.

  1. Pre-op Preparation:

After reaching Mexico, you will be admitted to the hospital. Here, your pre-op examination and testing are done. Monitoring the vital signs before the transplantation is imperative.

  1. Transplantation:
  • Extraction of Fat: The fat tissue is extracted from the donor site after proper disinfection.
  • Separation and Cultivation of Stem Cells: Stem cells are segregated from the extracted tissue and made to multiply.
  • Reverse Aging process and Function assignment: the stem cells are then rendered ‘blank’. These are the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (IPSCs). A specific function is assigned to them depending on the part of the body which is being treated.
  • Infusion of stem cells into the recipient’s body: These targeted stem cells are then infused into the patient’s body. they give the immune system a boost along with repairing the damaged part.

Why MTC?

  • We work with the pioneers in the field of stem cell research and technology.
  • We provide an otherwise expensive treatment at very affordable prices.
  • Our stem cell research centers in Mexico use the latest technology to give you premium quality treatment.
  • Our network stem cell center has treated about 4,000 patients with degenerative diseases in developing countries like India.
  • All our staff is bilingual. They converse comfortably in English as well as Spanish.
  • Our ground staff will help you throughout your stay in Mexico.
  • You will get a free airport shuttle service, discounted hotel reservations, and assistance with documentation.

Our Network Clinics in Mexico

    1. The Del Prado Hospital, Tijuana: The only hospital which has received a certificate of excellence by the Health Secretary in Mexico.
    2. The San Javier Hospital, Guadalajara: Deemed as a Specialty Hospital by the Mexican General Health Council.
    3. Stem Cell Center, Los Algodones: Provides stem cell spa in a very peaceful and comfortable environment.

Here is a list of the various facilities we provide to our patients:

  • Medical Consultation.
  • Personalized Stem Cell Therapy Protocol.
  • Shuttle Services (Local Airport to the Clinic in Mexico and return).
  • Lodging.
  • Local Shuttle (Hotel to Clinic and Clinic to Hotel).
  • Oxygen Therapy.
  • Nutritional Consultation.
  • Follow up after Therapy is done.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Stem Cell Therapy for Sickle Cell Anemia

  1. Can Sickle Cell Anemia skip a generation?

Sickle Cell Anemia is Genetic in nature. It is passed on from both parents to their children. [link to inheritance H2]. If the parents have the gene for the disease, the child will either be a carrier or have the disease. In either case, the gene can’t skip a generation.

  1. What is a Sickle Cell crisis?

Sickle Cell Crisis is a situation where the sickled RBCs block the flow of blood in arteries and veins. Due to this, there is extreme pain in these areas of the body. for example, there might be a sudden sharp pain in your back, joints, arms or legs. This is why the Sickle Cell Crisis is also often called a Pain Episode.

The location and duration of pain vary from person to person. It pain can last hours to days even.

  1. How to manage pain episodes in Sickle Cell Anemia?

Pain episodes can be managed with or without taking medication, depending upon the severity.

In case of mild to moderate pain, Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

When the pain is more severe, opioids are the drugs of choice. Morphine or Codeine will be administered either via the oral route or by intravenous infusion.

Non-pharmacological pain management is based on the concept of increasing the total fluid volume in the body. This prevents the sickled blood cells from blocking any arteries.

Other methods include relaxation exercises, massage therapy, behavior modification, etc.

  1. How is sickle cell trait different from the sickle cell disease?

If a child inherits one defective gene and one healthy gene from both the parents, it is said to be carrier state. This means that the child has the Sickle Cell Trait.

On the other hand, if a child gets both defective genes, the condition will manifest in its full-blown form. This is called Sickle Cell Disease.

Sickle Cell Trait will usually not show any symptoms. Sickle Cell Disease, on the contrary, is a very serious condition.

  1. How is SCD detected?

A simple blood test is used to detect abnormal hemoglobin (HbS). This will tell the doctor whether or not you have the gene for sickle cell anemia.

If the test comes out negative, there is no sickle cell gene present.

If the test is positive, further testing might be done to find out if one or both of the genes are affected.

Even in unborn babies, this test can be performed by taking a sample of the fluid surrounding the baby. This is called Amniotic fluid. Evidence of HbS will give a positive result.

Parents of an unborn, affected child are usually advised to see a genetic counselor.






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