Investigators see promise in stem cell therapy for MS

A long-term study of 35 people suffering from the most aggressive version of multiple sclerosis has underscored the potential of a radical new stem cell treatment approach.

In the study, chemotherapy was used to eliminate all of a patient's blood cells, including the errant immune cells that trigger MS. Enriched bone marrow stem cells were transplanted back into the patients in the hope that it would "reboot" their immune system and moderate the disease.

Over 11 years tracking results, 16 of those patients experienced a significant improvement for two years on their scorecard for symptoms of the disease. Participants in the study also demonstrated a reduction in telltale brain lesions. Two of the patients died as a result of complications from the transplants.

Keeping in mind that much more research has to be done, lead investigator Vasilios Kimiskidis, MD, of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Medical School in Greece added that "our feeling is that stem cell transplants may benefit people with rapidly progressive MS. This is not a therapy for the general population of people with MS but should be reserved for aggressive cases that are still in the inflammatory phase of the disease."

- read the story at Science Daily