Can Stem Cell Treatment be Considered to Treat Shingles Disease?

Shingles a viral infection, also known as herpes zoster is a painful rash and found in the nerves as well as surface of the skin. Shingles is mainly caused by the virus which causes chickenpox.

Along with the pain it also causes peripheral neuropathy resulting in the damage of the body’s peripheral nerves. The damage of the nerves is the main reason for pain in the body and is life-threatening.

There are some vaccines that can prevent the occurrence of shingles but unable to cure completely. However, it can be treated with stem cell therapy. Although being costly, stem cell therapy can help in treating shingles and also provide a new way of hope for the patients.

Facts for using stem cells to treat shingles:

  • If any person had ever suffered from chicken pox, the virus does not get eliminated and remains in the nerves. At a later age, this virus shows up its symptoms causing shingles. Rashes caused by this disease filled with fluid and are too much painful. It leads to the occurrence of fever as well as fatigue and the symptoms gets worse by the increase in the age especially after age of 50[4].
  • Scientists from American journal of preventive medicine stated that most of the patients cannot use the vaccines due to high cost and scarce in availability. Also, these vaccines are not so much cost effective.
  • Although there is no cure for shingles, some antiviral drugs can be used to for reducing the pain. Sometimes Opioids can help in getting relief from the pain but it may cause addiction.
  • As there are no such treatment to cure shingles, so Stem Cell Researchers Organization of California, found that stem cells are the only option to treat shingles. This treatment can be done without any side effects and addiction of Opioids.

Prof. Ron Goldstein of Bar-Ilan University explains that stem cells are the type of cells which can be regenerated into any type of cell of the human body. He also said that the stem cells are successfully infused into the human body to regenerate into peripheral neurons.

In addition, the researchers of Cleveland clinic had done some experiments with the animals and explained that the stem cells can regenerate the peripheral neurons. Thus they concluded that stem cells are proved to be viable for treating shingles.

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