Here are two factsheets by the UK MS Trust - one on the stem cell treatment offered in Holland and the other on stems cells and their potential use in MS.
Stem cell treatment for MS is still some way off - maybe 5-10 years. Professor Neil Scolding in the UK is looking at stem cells for re-myelination but the trials are still 2-3 years way.
The debacle in South Korea shows that there is still some way to go. But of course, advances can come quickly in these fields. But trials will need to be undertaken - the last thing you would want is for the stem cells to create even more problems e.g. tumours.
But there are other options for repair - finding out why re-myelination fails, chemicals to encourage nerve growth, therapies to protect nerves etc. The key issue is to stop the de-myelination in the first place. So there are other avenues being pursued, but stem cells may not be the answer (particularly in the short term).
The really sad point is that sufferers of this disease, particularly in the progressive stages, have little option as there are no current licensed treatments. At the end of the day the NMSS has spent $500 million on research since the mid 1940s, the revenue for the CRAB drugs is over $4 billion a year, and neurologists will retire on their fat pensions. Meanwhile some sufferers in the progressive stage are forced to spend $20,000 of their own money to be injected with cells drawn from an umbilical cord. Doesn't seem quite right to me. The UK government sometimes raises extra taxes on companies which make excessive profits e.g. the oil companies. Perhaps governments might conside doing the same for the CRAB maufacturers and using the money to help those with this disease.
My rant is based on two factors (i) Serono were fined yesterday for too pushy marketing following the withdrawal of Tysabri (ii) when my Rebif arrived I got a 'free' shoulder bag with Rebif on the side. Do I sound like the sort of person who would use a bag with the name of an MS drug on the side?