Stem Cell therapy is one of the most innovative and radical techniques being practiced today. Among all the upcoming and newly developed procedures in the field of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, it seems to have the biggest potential of changing people’s lives the most. A group of researchers from the RNL Stem Cell Technology Institute have recently published a research with regards to the effectiveness of stem-cell therapy on patients with Parry-Romberg Syndrome. This article can be seen in the publication Annals of Plastic Surgery.
The Parry-Romberg Syndrome affects predominantly children aged between 5-15 years. Affecting more than 200,000 people in the US alone, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke said that there is currently no medical procedure that can totally eliminate the disease. Symptoms of the Parry-Romberg Syndrome are primarily neurological in nature, with diminishing motor function of the upper half of the body, followed by extreme cases of facial, peri-orbital, and ocular muscle paralysis. Although there is total cure for it, plastic surgeons have developed an alleviating-technique wherein there are fat grafts that are surgically inserted in between facial muscles to strengthen facial expression and to add more volume to the overall look of the face.
Microvascular surgery is also performed in order to make sure that there is enough blood supply to the newly-grafted tissues on the patient’s face. The problem with this fat-grafting is that the relief it gives is primarily aesthetic with the patient experiencing minimal or no relief of pain. If worse came to worst, there may be a graft vs. host reaction where in the body would reject the newly-placed fat graft in an auto-immune response.
Stem-cell therapy is a technique developed to avoid auto-immune responses by means of taking de-activated stem-cells from a host or from the patient’s own body, and activating it to replicate into the desired tissue morphology, depending on the surgical and aesthetic needs of the patient. This is made possible because “stem-cells”, as the name implies, are cells from which all the histologically-differentiated cells in our body, i.e. epithelial cells, renal cells, myocardial cells, bone cells, arise from. This makes sure that the newly-grown cells coming from the stem-cells are disease-free.
Dr. Kyeung-Suk and Dr. Jong-Woo of the RNL Stem Cell Technology Institute were the ones who led the study, where a small amount of the patient’s own stem-cells have been harvested from a small amount of fat from any part of the body. These stem cells are then modified in such a way that they mature into immune cells which specifically target disease-causing cells of the Parry-Romberg Syndrome. The results of the research show that patients treated with their own differentiated stem cells presented with remarkable changes in muscle excitability and function as compared to the control group that did not receive stem-cell therapy. Fat grafts combined with the stem cells showed the grafts were less likely to cause discomfort of the patient 47% of the time as compared to the 20% of the control group.
Since the study has already gotten the seal of approval from the Food and Drug Administration of Korea, we should soon be expecting to see this technique performed on patients with Parry-Romberg Syndrome in plastic surgery clinics all across the US. The hope of the research is that all of the hard work might one day lead to developments in stem-cell therapy wherein the actually disease manifestation might already be curbed before it even starts. Early detection and management should always be observed for symptom control and so that the patient my receive treatment at the earliest onset of the disease.