The American Academy of Pain Medicine has recognized mesenchymal stem cell [MSC] treatments as a viable method to block opioid-induced tolerance. The Academy cites a study done by the Cleveland Clinic in which the development of opioid tolerance was effectively prevented by either intravenous or intrathecal MSCs. Furthermore, established opioid tolerance was reversed when the timing of the transplants followed repeated morphine injections.
Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic reported that treating animal subjects with mesenchymal stem cells prevented opioid tolerance despite repeated exposure. Stem cells, when provided after opioid tolerance was established, essentially reversed both tolerance and hypersensitivity to pain associated with opioid tolerance. Although opioids like morphine are essential to the treatment of pain, tolerance requires the use of increasingly higher doses which carry potentially significant morbidity.