Exciting breakthroughs in cell-based immune therapy have opened new avenues to transform patient care.
Beauty springs from wellness and good health, and good health usually reflects a body in tune and working at its optimal levels of cell regeneration. When external and internal forces attack cells, they change, slow down in production and start to cease to rebound from these stimuli, causing what we see in the mirror as the external signs of aging–wrinkles, grey hair and sagging skin.
The fountain of youth and the 1966 science fiction film “Fantastic Voyage” are more prescient about the future of medicine and less imaginative legend and lore these days. Exciting breakthroughs in cell-based immune therapy have opened new avenues to transform patient care.
Today, there are tiny computerized robots that can enter the bloodstream to repair internal organs and there are also advanced clinical trials where extracted targeted adult stem cells are grown in a way to specifically address bad hearts, bum backs and treat the complications of the fast growing diseases of obesity and lifestyle, type 2 adult onset diabetes, as well as other major diseases with well defined, unmet clinical needs. All of these things are being conducted in promising medical trials underway in the United States as you read this.
Within reach are exciting fixes for all of these indignities to the body with the raging advances in regenerative medicine. There are more than 400 companies worldwide with a regenerative medicine focus ranging from divisions of multinational corporations to smaller firms focused on niche products or platform technologies.
One company, that is a leader in this diverse field of advanced therapies in developing regenerative medicines is Australian company Mesoblast, Ltd., with a U.S. base of operations in New York City. Stem cell therapies represent the largest therapeutic sub-sector of the regenerative medicine industry, and no company has the encouraging clinical trial results across so many disease states like they do.
Clinical data to date suggests that Mesoblast’s regenerative medicinal therapies are set to create a new paradigm in human health by resolving unmet medical needs. Their innovative adult stem cell technologies have the potential to modify diseases and enable tissue regeneration or effect repair of damaged tissues.
Mesoblast’s cells are sourced from the bone marrow obtained from healthy young human donors, then expanded to millions of these rare and potent cells, cultivated and then expanded for what will be ultimately a frozen, off-the-shelf products that a physician can use when someone suffers a heart attack or severe spinal disc disease, for example.
Cell-based immunotherapies can be autologous (a patient’s own), while others are allogeneic (from an unrelated donor). Mesoblast is delivering potentially game changing results from recent clinical trials and their bio-therapies represent a new way to treat patients. No other company to date has even come close to their level of advanced science and positive safety and efficacy results across multiple clinical trials.
For example, the all too common prevalence of lower back pain is estimated to affect between 60-84% of the United States population. It’s the second most common cause of disability in American adults. The costs are staggering, and are estimated to be between $100 billion and $200 billion annually, two thirds of which are due to decreased wages and productivity.
More than six million patients in the United States alone are currently dealing with chronic back pain that has persisted for at least three months, with around 3.5 million people affected by moderate or severe degenerative intervertebral disc disease. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in 2010 that lower back pain was the leading complaint, affecting 28% of American adults.
We all know the standard treatment for chronic back pain includes medicating with anti-inflammatory agents, epidural steroid injections, and ultimately (what no one wants) surgical intervention. The good news is that Mesoblast’s allogeneic or ‘off-the-shelf’ regenerative biotherapies are being developed for treating conditions like this – significant unmet medical needs – without having to resort to invasive surgery and its associated complications.
Yet it’s not only people with chronic back pain that may benefit from their visionary efforts. Their product development focus is in four major and distinct areas – systemic diseases with an underlying inflammatory and immunologic etiology; cardiac and vascular diseases; orthopedic diseases of the spine; and improving outcomes of bone marrow transplantation associated with oncology or genetic conditions. These are exciting, transforming times in medicine. This fantastic voyage has just begun.