Research on stem cells to repair MS damage

Discuss stem cells, adult and embryonic, and their therapeutic potential for MS here.

Research on stem cells to repair MS damage

Postby dignan » Thu May 26, 2005 9:40 am

I like that this is a multi-centre initiative focused on MS, but I'm not so wild about their focus on demyelination...but it's a start I suppose...


Researchers Look at Stem Cells to Repair Damage Caused by Multiple Sclerosis

May 26 -- CNW -- Three North American research centres are examining the body's own stem cells in hopes that they may hold the key to repairing damage caused by multiple sclerosis. If successful, people with MS may be able to regain losses of physical ability caused by the often-
debilitating disease.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and related MS Scientific Research Foundation announced the funding of $2.25 million to allow scientists from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute in Calgary, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and Montreal Neurological Institute to continue their ground-breaking work.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for us to take a new approach in treating MS," says Dr. Samuel Weiss, the lead scientist from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, a partnership of the University of Calgary and the Calgary Health Region. "We will be combining repair therapies, pioneered by the three centres, in ways that have never been tested before in the course of
MS research."

In earlier work, researchers used stem cells to generate myelin-producing oligodendrocytes. Myelin is the vital protective covering of the brain and spinal cord that is damaged during MS attacks, resulting in a wide array of symptoms including vision problems, tingling, lack of coordination and sometimes, paralysis.

They also pioneered new ways of using magnetic resonance imaging to measure, non-invasively, the production of new myelin and the rate of functional recovery from MS. The ability to generate myelin and measure its impact is key to reducing MS disability.

With the new funding, scientists will investigate whether adult human stem cells can be stimulated to create myelin. In essence, they will determine if there is an "on" switch that can kick-start the remyelination process for people who have MS.

"The study looks to using an individual's own stem cells to repair the damage caused by MS," explains Dr. Jack Antel, lead researcher from the Montreal Neurological Institute.

"In the future, we hope to turn this data into human clinical trials to determine whether people who have MS will actually experience a decrease in disability," adds Dr. Moses Rodriguez, lead researcher from the Mayo Clinic.

"This would be an extraordinary step in the fight against this disease." Also involved in the study are Dr. Jeffrey Dunn and Dr. Wee Yong from the University of Calgary, Dr. Douglas Arnold from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Dr. Arthur Warrington from the Mayo Clinic.

"The work taking place at these three institutions is state of the art and provides real hope to people living with MS today," concludes Alexander R. Aird, chair of the MS Scientific Research Foundation and former chair of the MS Society of Canada.

Funding for this unique study and many other MS research projects is made possible through MS Society of Canada fund raising activities like the just-concluded MS Carnation Campaign, the upcoming RONA MS Bike Tours, and the ongoing Super Cities WALKs for MS and MS Read-A-Thon. The MS Society is a leader in providing funding for innovative research and vital services for people with MS and their families. The MS Scientific Research Foundation receives almost all of its funding from the MS Society of Canada.

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/arch ... c3280.html
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Postby bromley » Thu May 26, 2005 10:54 am

Dignan

Good post. This is my second favourite topic at the moment after neuro-protection. I hope the work will be expanded to look at the possibility of stem cells replacing damaged axons and neurones not just myelin. Stems cell are often cited as being potential cures for Pakinsons and Alzeimers (sp?) as they will replace lost cells. Surely, this should be the aim of repair therapies for ms. It's the damage to axons that results in disability (and I assume the damage to neurones results in the cognitive / memory problems).

Ian (Bromley)
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Postby dignan » Thu May 26, 2005 1:57 pm

Agreed -- neuro-protection and stem cells are really important avenues of research. It seems to me that they could combine to become something like a cure for MS. I guess the ultimate would be to figure out the entire disease process and find a treatment that prevents it from happening at all. I'm not sure which would take longer, fully understanding the MS disease process, or coming up with highly effective neuro-protection and stem-cell treatments. Luckily, it seems that there are researchers working on all aspects of MS. Add on the benefits of increased collaboration (Accelerated Cure Project etc) and I am very hopeful.
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Postby bromley » Thu May 26, 2005 2:31 pm

Dignan,

There is similar work on stem cells going on in the UK - see shortcut below. I understand that human trials might take place in 2-3 years but this is certainly an area which is moving very fast.

Ian


http://www.mssociety.org.uk/go.rm?id=4664
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Postby dignan » Fri May 27, 2005 8:22 am

The Canada / US group is hoping for human trials 2 to 3 years from now as well. I'm glad to see that stem cell research is moving along relatively quickly.
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