Stem cell hope for MS sufferers


Chicago: Stem cell injections may be able to help reverse the crippling effects of multiple sclerosis, a study published today says.

Four out of five adults in the early stages of MS who were injected with stem cells taken from their bone marrow saw an improvement in symptoms after three years, while the condition of the remainer stabalised.

MS is one of the most common disabling neurological conditions,and caused by damage to the myelin – a protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres and results in problems with sensation and muscle control.

The study, at the Feinberg School of Medicine, was designed to see whether injections of stem cells from bone marrow would migrate to parts of the nervous system damaged by MS and repair them.

Among the 21 men and women in the trial,who were aged between 20 and 53, 17 had improved on a scale of disability after three years. None of them reported a worse score.
The report in The Lancet Neurology medical journal today says the technique suppresses cells that cause damage and effectively ‘resets’ the immune system.
Study leader Dr Richard Burt of Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, said: ‘It is a feasible procedure that not only seems to prevent neurological progression, but also appears to reverse neurological disability.’
And a further trial involving 100 patients is to get under way soon.