First Clinical Trial Using Stem Cells to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

A new clinical trial at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine will be the first in the U.S. to focus on using mesenchymal stem cells to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Mesenchymal stem cells have many unique functions including the ability to inhibit inflammation following tissue damage, to secrete growth factors that aid in tissue repair, and to differentiate into many cell types including neural cells, bone cells, fat cells and cartilage. MSCs are increasingly being utilized in regenerative medicine for a wide range of conditions including heart and kidney disease, ALS, wound healing and autoimmune diseases. The umbilical cord is a rich source of mesenchymal stem cells.
“Stem cells are very potent anti-inflammatories,” said Dr. Bernard S. Baumel, assistant professor of neurology. He is the principal investigator for the phase 1 clinical trial, which is designed to determine the safety of this treatment strategy. “We believe infusions of these types of stem cells have the potential to be beneficial to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease,”
The clinical trial, “Allogeneic Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Infusion Versus Placebo in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease,” will be open to individuals with mild Alzheimer’s disease symptoms who are otherwise healthy. The study will also look at changes to participants’ cognitive functions, quality of life and brain volume to gain a preliminary understanding of the potential effectiveness of this strategy.

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