Stem Cell Therapy for Hypertension

Hypertension is a term that refers to high blood pressure. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive condition that includes a heterogeneous group of disorders with the common feature of elevated pulmonary artery pressure. If not managed properly, PAH can eventually lead to congestive cardiac failure and even death. Stem cell therapy for pulmonary hypertension offers an advanced treatment for this condition with potentially positive outcomes.

The diagnosis of PAH is made when the pressure in the pulmonary arteries rises above 25 mm Hg when measured by cardiac catheterization or 35 to 40 mm Hg on echocardiography.

PAH vs. Normal Heart
PAH vs. Normal Heart

What is Pulmonary Artery Hypertension?

PAH typically develops and progresses without any evident symptoms. It is usually diagnosed during a routine health check-up or when a patient develops serious complications, such as cardiac failure, cerebrovascular stroke, vision loss, renal impairment, cognitive function impairment, and other issues.

Persistent high blood pressure damages the walls of arteries, further leading to the development of atherosclerosis, which is characterized by the deposition of plaques made of fat and calcium. 

The deposition of plaques causes the narrowing of arteries, thus increasing blood pressure. This exerts more strain on the heart muscle, eventually causing it to become overloaded and worn out. The deposition of plaques also leads to a decrease in blood flow to the vital organs. 

The resulting lack of oxygen and essential nutrients for the heart and brain can cause myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke, respectively. These complications can significantly elevate the risk of mortality.

Stem Cell Therapy for Hypertension
Atherosclerosis and Hypertension

Although remarkable advances have been made in the management of PAH, the prognosis remains poor for the majority of patients. However, clinical stem cell trials for pulmonary hypertension over the past few decades have explored the potential positive outcomes of this therapy and have provided promising results.

This article discusses the basic pathogenesis of PAH, standard treatment methods for high blood pressure, and the latest approaches utilizing stem cells from the patient’s own body.

Treatment of Hypertension

If you are diagnosed with PAH, your healthcare provider might advise you to change your dietary habits and lifestyle to control your blood pressure.

Here are some measures that could be effective for improving your prognosis:

  • Eat a balanced and nutritious diet.
  • Reduce your intake of salt.
  • Perform regular physical activity within safe limits determined by your current activity levels and your overall health.
  • Lose excess weight.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Quit cigarette smoking.

However, for most patients, these measures are difficult to implement due to their inability to make changes to their established habits. As a result, the disease progresses further, requiring the use of medication.

The following medications are usually prescribed for patients with PAH:

  • Thiazide diuretics
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Alpha-blockers
  • Beta-blockers
  • Alpha-beta blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Endothelin receptor antagonist
  • Aldosterone antagonists
  • Vasodilators
  • PDE5 inhibitors

These antihypertensive drugs help lower blood pressure through different mechanisms, such as relaxing the walls of arteries or promoting the elimination of salt and water by the kidneys. Beta-blockers help by reducing the heart rate and regulating the force with which the heart beats.

However, these medications do not always help control blood pressure in all patients. Moreover, most of these drugs can also cause several side effects, including headaches, dizziness, constipation, rashes, increased thirst, and increased urine frequency. These side effects can significantly affect the patient’s quality of life, necessitating the choice of a different approach.

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Stem Cell Therapy for Hypertension
Dr. Aleksandra Fetyukhina, MD

Medical Advisor, Swiss Medica doctor

Stem Cells in Cardiovascular Therapy

Patients with PAH often need antihypertensive therapy for the rest of their lives. The prolonged use of these medications can cause tolerance issues and severe side effects.

However, a recent advancement in medical science has revealed that cell-based treatment can improve the function and structure of blood vessels by stimulating the regeneration of new cells that can replace old and damaged cells.

Stem cell pulmonary hypertension treatment can, thus, exert a rejuvenating effect that could slow down or stop the progression of PAH. This is why cell-based treatment is also referred to as regenerative medicine.

The administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is today considered the most effective and safe form of regenerative medicine. MSCs are a type of cell that can produce active substances such as exosomes, growth factors, cytokines, and microRNAs, which have the potential to boost the regenerative processes in damaged muscles and blood vessels of the heart and lungs. Moreover, MSCs are easy to remove from the body for regenerative therapy.

MSCs may also stimulate angiogenesis, a process of the formation of new vessels. These new blood vessels can restore blood flow to the damaged tissues, ensuring a proper supply of oxygen and nutrients.

Overall Benefits of Stem Cell Treatment

Stem cell pulmonary arterial hypertension therapy involves the intravenous or local administration of the cells obtained from the patient’s own or donor’s blood.

These introduced cells reach damaged areas where they stimulate regeneration processes, producing biologically active components such as growth factors. The regenerative effect of MSCs can heal the damaged blood vessels and restore their functions, thus improving the prognosis of PAH. However, it’s important to note that the specific application of stem cell therapy will depend on individual needs and cases, and it’s important to consult with a professional.

Modulation of Inflammation

MSCs administered during stem cell pulmonary hypertension treatment help control blood pressure by reducing inflammation. 

The development and progression of PAH are associated with persistent inflammation at the cellular level in the tissues of the lungs, heart, and blood vessels. This leads to the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which increase the risk of clotting in blood vessels.

The anti-inflammatory properties of MSCs used in stem cell pulmonary arterial hypertension therapy play a role in lowering the damage caused by pro-inflammatory cytokines and supporting healing.

Role in Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a common disease associated with PAH. The infiltration of pro-inflammatory cells in the damage area and the increased level of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines are implicated as possible reasons for the development of atherosclerosis.

The anti-inflammatory factors produced by MSCs can mitigate the inflammation induced by atherosclerotic lesions in the blood vessels, thus improving the functional efficacy of the affected tissue.

In addition, hypoxic conditions in tissues affected by PAH due to the deposition of atherosclerotic plaques also respond favorably to MSCs. These cells respond to low-oxygen microenvironments by increasing regeneration and proliferation, thus improving prognosis.

Assistance in Weight Loss

Obesity and weight gain are the most common risk factors for high blood pressure. Weight loss is often enough to lower blood pressure and avoid complications.

The ability of MSCs to support weight loss and correct obesity-induced metabolic disruptions can play a role in the effective management of PAH.

Procedure and Safety Aspects

Stem cell hypertension treatment involves the transplantation of healthy cells into damaged tissues, including the blood vessels and muscles.

The patient’s (autologus) or the donor’s (allogenic) stem cells can be used for PAH treatment. Autologus stem cells are typically harvested from the bone marrow or adipose tissue (fat). They are cultivated and processed to prepare unique products for transplantation.

The process of harvesting cells from the patient’s body is generally considered safe and requires little time.

The cells are then reintroduced into the patient’s bloodstream through an IV (intravenous) drip. This step takes less than an hour and does not require general anesthesia.

Clinical stem cell trials of pulmonary hypertension have confirmed the safety of mesenchymal stromal cells in the management of cardiovascular diseases, although it’s always best to consider each case on an individual basis.

Advantages of Stem Cell Therapy for Hypertension at Swiss Medica

At Swiss Medica, our specialists follow a comprehensive approach to stem cell therapy to optimize the results. The therapy is combined with other methods, including physiotherapy, reflex therapy, laser and ultraviolet blood irradiation, and oxygen therapy, to promote and complement the long-lasting regenerative effects of these cells. The final program is always drawn up by the doctor after an exhaustive analysis of the patient’s diagnosis and condition.

What Improvements Can I Expect From Stem Cell Therapy?

The specialists at Swiss Medica stay in touch with patients to track their health status. They propose a follow-up plan based on the results to meet their specific needs and expected outcomes.

How Long Will It Take to See Improvements?

The effectiveness of pulmonary hypertension stem cell treatment can typically be noticed within 1 to 3 months as the introduced cells come into full force. Most patients experience improvements in blood pressure and symptoms within 7 to 10 days after the treatment.

What Side Effects Can a Patient Expect From Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cell therapy for pulmonary hypertension is not known to cause serious side effects or allergic reactions. In rare cases, intolerance after administration of MSCs may occur, causing a short-term fever. 

The patient’s general health is carefully monitored by our specialists during the procedure and several hours after it. 

Would Stem Cell Therapy Fit Me?

Though regenerative therapy is widely used in the management of certain diseases, its efficacy cannot be predicted or guaranteed without a preliminary medical examination of patients. It is also important to remember that each case is unique. Hence, the effectiveness of this therapy depends on several factors, including the patient’s age, stage of the disease, and lifestyle.

You can consult experienced doctors at Swiss Medica for further information about pulmonary hypertension and stem cell therapy and whether it is appropriate for your case.

Cost of Therapy Program For Hypertension

The cost of stem cell therapy for hypertension can vary based on the treatment plan, typically ranging from €7,000 to €25,000. To determine the exact cost of a therapy program, we recommend scheduling a consultation with our team. The consultation is no-obligation and completely free, and it will allow you to understand and explore potential treatment options.

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Contact us to learn about the expected results of the treatment, its cost and duration.

Stem Cell Therapy for Hypertension
Dr. Aleksandra Fetyukhina, MD

Medical Advisor, Swiss Medica doctor

List of References

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Medical Advisor, Swiss Medica doctor

Medical Advisor, Swiss Medica doctor

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