Three multiple sclerosis patients treated with cells from their own fat tissue have shown a "dramatic improvement" researchers have reported.
One man became free of the agonising seizures that had plagued him for years.
Another regained his balance and co-ordination, and a third man who was previously paralysed was reported to be running and riding a bicycle.
However, scans showed that in all three patients sites of damage to the nervous system remained after the treatment.
The case studies do not count as scientific evidence because no comparisons were made with untreated patients. But the US researchers say they raise the prospect of a safe and simple MS therapy based on fatty stem cells.
Each of the patients was injected with many millions of stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells taken from their own adipose, or fat, tissue.
SVF cells are a population of fat cells containing two kinds of stem cell as well as immune system cells. Stem cells are immature cells that can develop into a number of different tissues.
MS is an auto-immune disorder in which the body's own defences attack nerve cells, destroying their covering of fatty myelin. Without myelin nerves cannot transmit messages properly, leading to symptoms ranging from mild tingling and loss of balance to complete paralysis. Around 85,000 people in the UK suffer from the condition.
Animal studies had previously suggested that SVF stem cells may limit the immune reaction and promote the growth of new myelin.
Dr Boris Menev, from the University of California in San Diego, who led the "compassionate use" investigation, said: "All three patients in our study showed dramatic improvement in their condition after the course of SVF therapy. While obviously no conclusions in terms of therapeutic efficacy can be drawn from these reports, this first clinical use of fat stem cells for treatment of MS supports further investigations into this very simple and easily implementable treatment methodology."
Interesting...maybe placebo effect, since the 3 patients showed no change on their "sites of damage" and remyelination would be a change. Or maybe the means of action is that stromal vascular fraction fats cells broke down venous congestion in the veins? Just sayin'....