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Conditions We Treat – Dry Mouth

Stem cells could help patients with dry mouth due to:

  • Sjögren’s syndrome (Autoimmune disorder)
  • Post radiation induced dry mouth following treatment for head and neck cancer
  • Age related dry mouth
  • Prescription induced Medication which causes dry mouth

Saliva’s Role
Saliva is critical to good health. It helps with speaking, swallowing, washing food off teeth, initial food digestion and preventing oral infections. Insufficient saliva can cause chronic bad breath, cavities, gum disease, as well as systemic infections.

There is no treatment for low-producing or non-functioning salivary glands, and the glands have little regenerative capability.

As well as dry mouth from radiation treatment to the head and neck from cancer there are also autoimmune diseases such as Sjögren’s syndrome, in which the body attacks its own tear ducts and salivary glands.

Low saliva production also is a devastating problem for thousands of patients who have medications that can cause dry mouth, also known as xerostomia.

There currently is no way to restore salivary gland function permanently. Artificial saliva is available, but clinicians generally don’t regard it as an effective long-term solution.

Regeneration Process
It has been reported that Mesenchymal Cells injected into the remaining major salivary glands can improve function and flow of saliva.

Future Research
Currently, little is known about stem cells in salivary glands and how they might react to tissue damage, mostly because it is difficult to find the cells. Researchers aim to zero in on salivary gland stem cells and determine what they do when the glands are damaged and how they might be manipulated to rejuvenate the glands.

Sjogrens Syndrome
Sjögren’s Syndrome was first identified by Dr. Henrik Sjögren in 1933. It is an autoimmune disorder that affects as many as four million people in the United States and possibly 150,000 people in Australia alone. According to the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, it is the most prevalent autoimmune disease, more common than lupus. Typically affecting people over the age of 40, the disease causes dry eyes, dry mouth, fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes and more. Sjögren’s affects mostly women; about nine out of 10 of those diagnosed with the condition are women. Sjögren’s is commonly misdiagnosed due to its symptoms resembling those of other common conditions. In most cases, it takes almost four years to receive a Sjögren’s diagnosis. The disease can occur alone, but there are some cases where it is accompanied by lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma.

Olympus Treatment Planning

We would require you to give a good history of your condition and undergo salivary tests to ascertain your salivary production. Olympus would harvest 20-30cc’s of fat from your abdomen under local anaesthesia and then convert the fat to stem cells and stromal vascular fraction. We would then inject the stem cells and SVF (Stromal vascular fraction) into your remaining major salivary glands. Some of these may have been removed during surgery but in general there should be some still present. It would be required for you to have a second or ‘top up’ procedure 6 months later and possibly yearly after that.

Dr Peter Vickers, FRCS, FRCSE, FRACDS is a MaxilloFacial Surgeon who has had 40 years of experience in Head and Neck surgery and dry mouth treatment. Dr Vickers would inject the stem cells and SVF into the remaining major salivary glands. His knowledge of the anatomy of the head and neck is invaluable in the determination of the success of the procedure. Dr Vickers is unaware of anybody else conducting this treatment in Australia.

Olympus Disclaimer

Although there has been isolated reports in the literature of this being a successful procedure, NO guarantee is given nor expressed by Olympus as to the effectiveness of this treatment. Olympus Stem Cells Pty Ltd require the patient to fully investigate the proposed treatment and be satisfied that they are fully informed. The FDA in the USA and the TGA in Australia make no statements that this procedure is effective as not enough clinical trials have been performed.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) also recommend you seek a second medical and surgical opinion to fully appraise yourself of your condition and ascertain alternatives to the proposed treatment provided by Olympus Stem Cells.

Sources:
sjogrens.org
mayoclinic.org

References

  1. Adult stem cells and tissue engineering strategies for salivary gland regeneration: a review
  2. First-in-man intraglandular implantation of stromal vascular fraction and adipose-derived stem cells plus platelet-rich plasma in irradiation-induced gland damage: a case study.
  3. Adult Stem Cell Therapy for Salivary Glands, with a Special Emphasis on Mesenchymal Stem Cells
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