Stem cells & MS – research update

Hey there!

here is an ‘update’ (as always from Medical News Today) on the stem cells post I posted on February 9th this year.


Bone marrow stem cell transplants used to reset the immune system and reverse the symptoms of MS!! The researchers claim that this additional piece of research provides another piece of evidence on what stems cells might one day do with regards to therapies and treatments for MS.


Some 81 percent of patients in the early phase study showed signs of improvement with the treatment, which used chemotherapy to destroy the immune system, and injections of the patient’s bone marrow cells taken beforehand to rebuild it. “We just start over with new cells from the stem cells,” said Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern University in Chicago, whose study appears in the journal Lancet Neurology. 


Burt said the approach — called autologous non-myeloablative hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation — is a bit gentler than the therapy used in cancer patients because rather than destroying the entire bone marrow, it attacks just the immune system component of the marrow, making it less toxic. Burt and colleagues tried the treatment on 21 patients aged 20 to 53 with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, an earlier stage in the disease in which symptoms come and go. Patients in the study were not helped by at least six months of standard treatment with interferon beta. After an average follow-up of about three years, 17 patients improved by at least one measure on a disability scale, and the disease stabilized in all patients. Patients continued to improve for up to 24 months after the transplant procedure, and then stabilized. Many had improvements in walking, vision, incontinence and limb strength.


“To date, all therapies for MS have been designed and approved because they slowed the rate of neurological decline. None of them has ever reversed neurological dysfunction, which is what this has done,” Burt said. 


It needs to be noted that the study however is under way and additional research needs to be done.

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