Autologous Adipose Stem Cell Therapy for Chronic Neurologic Diseases


Neurological diseases affect billions of people worldwide. From Parkinson’s disease to migraines, Alzheimer’s, to brain injuries or multiple sclerosis, neurological diseases are the cause of death to around millions in America. According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1 in 4 American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental or neurological condition each year, and 6% have severe disabilities as a result.

A new treatment option for people with chronic neurological diseases is autologous adipose stem cell therapy. The use of adult stem cells (ASCs) as a treatment for neurological disorders arose from their capacity to foster repair of the central nervous system through differentiation into neural cells and tissue integration.

The Collection and Administration Procedure

The stem cells are collected from adipose (fat) tissue via liposuction. First the doctor cleans the stomach, and then makes a tiny incision. A cannula is inserted to dislodge the cells, which are collected via suction into a small canister. Once the fat tissue is extracted, it appears as a thick, yellow solution. After being placed into tubes, the adipose solution is spun in a centrifuge machine, which is known as centrifugation.

Once the stem cells are separated, they are usually mixed with a solution called platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which is obtained from the patient. The stem cell and PRP solutions are injected into the diseased body, administered in a minimally invasive procedure via transplantation, or given by intravenous means.

Neurological Diseases in the United States

  • The United State National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) projected in a report that around 50,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed in the country every year.
  • The number of active Parkinson disease cases in the U.S. is around 500,000.
  • Per 100,000 children, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is 5.8 in the U.S., and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported the rate rising, affecting 1 in 90 children in America.
  • Migraine headaches affect 121 people per 1,000 total population.
  • Among older people, Alzheimer disease prevalence is 6% of the general population, and 16 million Americans currently have the disease.
  • Stroke affects 183 per 100,000 population, leaving many paralyzed on one side.
  • Around 100 per 100,000 population have traumatic brain injury, and 4.5 per 100,000 for spinal cord injury.
  • The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation estimates that more than 400,000 people in the United States and about 2.5 million people around the world have MS. About 200 new cases are diagnosed each week in the United States.

Clinical Studies

MSCs are used to treat multiple sclerosis, stroke, autoimmune encephalomyelitis, and other conditions. The current studies show that the adult progenitor cells, called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are effective for treating neurological conditions in animal subjects. The effects rely on MSCs capacity to inhibit pathogenic immune responses and release certain neuroprotective molecules that favor tissue repair. In the studies, researchers found MSCs safe to use for the treatment of neurological diseases.

In a recent systematic review of meta-analyses, researchers found that stem cell transplantation group was superior to control group with a statistically significant difference seen in the neurologic deficit scores following the procedure. In addition, daily life ability, functional independence, and motor function were all improved following stem cell therapy. This suggested that stem cell therapy worked well for patients with brain ischemic stroke, and improved daily life quality and neurological function.

Stem cells are used to replace lost or damaged cells in many neurological diseases. In Parkinson’s disease (PD), where neurons of the part of the brain called the substantia nigra (SN) die and do not provide dopamine, a necessary neurotransmitter. In a recent study, researchers found that the interaction between certain chemicals and the stem cells helped with functional improvement in patients with PD.


  • Chen L, Zhang G, Khan AA, et al. (2016). Clinical Efficacy and Meta-Analysis of Stem Cell Therapies for Patients with Brain Ischemia. Stem Cells International.
  • Redmond DE, Bjugstad KB, Teng YD (2007). Behavioral improvement in a primate Parkinson’s model is associated with multiple homeostatic effects of human neural stem cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci, 104(29), 12175-12180.
  • Uccelli A, Laroni A, & Freedman MS (2011). Mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases. The Lancet, 10(7), 649-656.