What is scleroderma?

Scleroderma is a chronic disease that affects connective tissue, the tissue that supports and holds organs together and is also found in the joints.
The hallmark of scleroderma is thick and hardened skin caused by excessive production of collagen, the main component of scar tissue. This scar tissue can accumulate in and damage organs, including the heart and blood vessels, the lungs, stomach, and kidneys.


What causes scleroderma?

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease, meaning it is caused by an overactive immune system that mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues. The excessive inflammation damages the skin and affected organs.
Scleroderma is a complex condition, and the underlying disease process is not well-understood. It is thought that the disease results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. But it is not contagious, infectious, cancerous, or malignant.


Who can develop scleroderma?

Women are three to four times more likely to develop scleroderma than men. Disease onset typically occurs between ages 25 to 55, but can also be found in children.
Types of scleroderma
This disease is broadly classified as either localized scleroderma or systemic scleroderma. The main difference between the two is the degree of internal organ involvement.
People with the localized form of the disease tend to have symptoms affecting skin only, although it can also spread to the muscles, joints, and bones. Those with the systemic form are more likely to have internal organ involvement and damage. Localized scleroderma is more common in children, whereas systemic scleroderma is more common in adults.
Both localized and systemic scleroderma can be further divided into various subtypes.


What are the symptoms of Scleroderma?

Symptoms of scleroderma vary among patients, and can range from very mild to being life-threatening depending on which parts of the body are affected and the extent of organ involvement. A mild case can become serious if not treated properly.


Possible co-existing conditions

Patients with scleroderma can be at greater risk of developing other conditions, such as Sjogren’s syndrome, erythromelalgia, fibromyalgia, and systemic lupus erythematosus.


Treatment and management of Scleroderma

Although scleroderma has no cure, several treatments can help make the condition more manageable. Medications include corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, and immunosuppressive therapies to manage the inflammation, and anti-fibrotic agents to block the formation of excess scar tissue.
Patients may also need treatments that specifically address symptoms resulting from organ damage. Physiotherapyand occupational therapy can also help improve the quality of life of patients with the condition.
Stem cell transplants are being investigated as a possible way to treating several autoimmune diseases, including scleroderma.
In scleroderma, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy connective tissue. These attacks trigger damaging responses and lead to the buildup of collagen that causes hardened scar-like tissue to form.
There is currently no cure for scleroderma, but stem cell therapy may have the potential to alter or even “reset” the immune system and treat the disease.


What are stem cells?

During development, the cells in the body “differentiate,” or become specialized to be able to carry out a set and defined function. Once specialized, a cell generally cannot change into another type of cell.
But our stem cells, unlike the majority of the cells in our body, have the potential to develop into a range of different types of cells. These cells are able to maintain and repair tissues and organs. They can self-renew to produce more stem cells, and develop into the specialized cells of the tissues in which they are found. For example, they can replenish blood cells or repair the worn lining of cells of the small intestine. This specialization only occurs in stem cells under very specific circumstances, and in some organs — like the pancreas and heart — it is very difficult to trigger this change.


Types of stem cells

There are different types of stem cells with the potential to become different types of specialized cells, as stem cells have specific properties based on the tissue from which they are harvested. Stem cells are broadly split into two types: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.
Adult stem cells can be harvested from many tissues, but they are restricted in the type of cell they can become. There are many types, including:

• Hematopoietic stem cells are related to blood and immune cells
• Mesenchymal stem cells, which produce bone, muscle, and connective tissue, as well as regulating the immune response
• Neural stem cells that can produce certain types of nerve cells
• Epithelial stem cells that, for example, renew the walls of the small intestine


How could stem cells help in scleroderma?

In scleroderma a stem cell transplant might be able to modify or reset the immune response, potentially reducing or preventing disease progression. It is e possible that stem cells can be used to repair damage caused by scleroderma in tissues.

What are the top Benefits of Non-surgical Regenerative Treatments?

With so many options out there, you may be wondering what benefits choosing Non-surgical Regenerative Treatments provides.  Over all Regenerative treatments are minimally invasive, non-surgical same day procedures with no risk of rejection, minimal recovery time and minimal worry. You are fully awake and ready to go home within a few hours after injections in the affected area.


Here are the top benefits to be aware of:

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Avoid surgery and its risks and many complications

Regenerative Therapy is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure, which gives patients an alternative to painful surgery and lengthy recovery. The procedure is performed in an outpatient setting and only takes a few hours. No general anaesthesia is required and most patients don’t need post-operative pain medication. Also, patients typically return to work within a week or two (unless told otherwise by the doctor) and they resume physical activity much faster than after invasive hip surgery.


Minimal post-procedural recovery time

One of the most time consuming factors of any injury is not always the treatment itself, but actually the recovery time. With Regenerative therapies, there is far less risk involved than surgery and recovery time is much shorter compared to surgery.


No use of general anaesthesia

Do you not like the way general anaesthesia makes your feel? Or do you simply get anxious at the thought of being put under? Regenerative therapy may be just what you need as it does not require the use of general anaesthesia. It provides a safe increasingly effective non-surgical alternative to treating medical conditions using the body’s own natural ability to repair itself without the use of medication.


Same day procedure

The best part, after comprehensive examination and review of your case, blood tests & radio-imaging scans are done to establish a baseline for your pre-existing condition, is that our Regenerative Therapies are a non-invasive treatment and an outpatient same day procedure, where the Consultant will decide which line of Regenerative Therapy is most suited to your case. In certain cases it may be a combination of more than one treatment protocol. For some patients however, the complete protocol is a series of injections in several treatment sessions.


Safe procedures with No risk of rejection and No communicable disease transmission

Your immune system has no reason to attack your cells and there is no risk of contracting a transmittable infectious disease from a donor patient also. In fact, studies thus far have indicated no safety issues with fat-derived autologous (from self) cells. Because they are your own cells, the risk of rejection is eliminated.

The increased risk of heart attack, as found to be associated with hip replacement surgery, is not present with Regenerative therapies, either. Like any procedure, there is a minute risk of infection at the sample collection and at the hip injection site. To minimize that risk the procedure is carried out under strict sterile conditions.

Am I a candidate for the Medica Institute Regenerative therapies?

In general, Regenerative Medica Institute Regenerative Therapies can be utilised by anyone, regardless of the age, race, or gender. However, in order to determine if you are a good candidate and will benefit the most from Regenerative treatment, you will need to schedule an appointment with our Clinic to have an assessment done by our Consultant, who will review your medical records and determine if you are a qualified candidate for our therapy. The choice of treatment is then at the discretion of the Consultant and is based on your unique case.


Regenerative Therapy may help patients who don’t respond to typical drug treatment, want to reduce their reliance on medication, or are looking for safe treatment alternatives. Regenerative treatments are not suitable for all conditions and all patients. The consultant will be able to advise if you are a suitable candidate.

Your first step to exploring your treatment options is scheduling a consultation with our Consultant. To do so call us on 020 8168 2000 or alternatively book a consultation online or request a call back today!