Promising treatment for multiple sclerosis with adult stem cells

A group of British scientists believe they have found a new technique that uses adult bone marrow stem cells to treat multiple sclerosis. The group, led by Professor Neil Scolding, at the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust, are conducting one of the first trials ever into the procedure. They believe that the treatment has stabilised the condition, showing some “benefits”.

"We are encouraged by the results of this early study," he said last month. “"We believe that stem cells mobilised from the marrow to the blood are responsible, and that they help improve disease in several ways."

Previous laboratory studies have shown that adult stem cells can develop into other types of cells, travel to the brain through the bloodstream. The cells are also actively taken up by damaged areas of the body.

The study, carried out at Frenchay Hospital, does not use human embryos, avoiding the ethical controversy sparked by many stem cell studies. Researchers have said that the patients experienced “no serious adverse effects”, and that the tests suggested that the disease had been stabilised. They also said that there had been improvement in the effectiveness of damaged nerve cells. Professor Scolding said: “The safety data are reassuring and the suggestion of benefit tantalising." ~ London Telegraph, May 5

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