A major clinical trial will investigate whether stem cells can be safely used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS).
It is hoped eventually to slow, stop or even reverse the damage MS causes to the brain and spinal cord.
The trial, involving up to 150 patients across Europe, is due to start later this year.
Dr Paolo Muraro from Imperial College London said: "There is very strong pre-clinical evidence that stem cells might be an effective treatment."
Researchers will collect stem cells from the bone marrow of patients, grow them in the laboratory and then re-inject them into their blood.
The stem cells will make their way to the brain where it is hoped that they will repair the damage caused by MS.... Read More - http://www.msrc.co.uk/index.cfm/fuseact ... ageid/1405
Thanks for posting this, Squiffy. I'm really glad to see this work expanding on the world stage and fully support this line of work. This study is unique as compared to all the many scam stem cell infusion therapy clinics around the world because this work includes the very important aspect of "colony expansion," separating it from all the scam business' and which is only found at a couple other places in the world (Cleveland Clinic and CTCI Isreal with Prof. Slavin). I wrote about it on my blog. . .
CTCI is additionally pushing their own proprietary Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) "infusion" therapy for MS that does not include chemotherapy. The procedure is very similar to a phase I clinical trial currently being performed here in the US by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic. Keep in mind that this is very early study work which, by design, is not intended to determine efficacy of the treatment, but is instead intended to evaluate safety & tolerability. So the treated study-population is quite small and I would not expect to see convincing data as to how well this specific procedure works as curative therapy until a number of years from now. However, I am optimistic about this line of work and am really hoping for good efficacy results because the theoretical foundation science is valid for possibly restoring some lost nerve function.
Here's the US-based MSC infusion phase I trial info. (In the title of this phase I Cleveland Clinic study they wrongly use the word "Transplantation." I really wish they had not used this nomenclature because this is not a classic transplantation procedure because it does not utilize chemotherapy and the wording is only likely to confuse some people. It is actually just a (re)infusion procedure. I'm not sure why the FDA let them incorrectly use the term "transplantation." Oh well.):
For this therapy at CTCI, same as the Cleveland Clinic protocol, MSC's are collected from the patient's own bone marrow (probably surgically aspirated from the pelvic bone) and then the MSC's are replicated (culture expansion) ex-vivo over a period of 1-2 months to create a substantially large MSC population (in the neighborhood of 1-2 million stem cells per kilogram of body weight) and then re-infused back into the body.
The in-vitro research data with MSC's as treatment for MS looks quite promising. I'm not dismissing it, but because it does not include chemotherapy to ablate self-intolerant immune cells I would not personally do it as a first line treatment because I think it extremely unlikely (or impossible) that it would stop the underlying MS disease process. Although. . . . . . I might seriously think about doing it following HSCT in the possibility that it may effect repair of already-damaged nerve structure & function. However, such an effect has yet to be proved or disproved in human clinical efficacy trials. Here is the small amount of preliminary phase I EDSS clinical outcome data as presented by Dr. Dimitri Karussis which is not negative, but is also not overwhelmingly positive and is why today (without further data) I am somewhat ambivalent about the use of MSC's for MS. (click to enlarge):
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-fiwjmILeRFM/T ... russis.jpg
However, for everyone else considering such treatment the decision is yours, not mine. I'm just glad CTCI offers actual HSCT that includes chemotherapy that has already been repeatably-proven in population studies to be effective and enable substantial EDSS improvement following transplantation. But if you decide to chance-it and go for the MSC therapy alone without first eliminating the autoreactive immune cells of your body, don't be surprised if there is little, or no positive clinical outcome beyond a placebo effect.
The following video presentation by Dr. Dimitri Karussis who works, or worked together with Prof. Slavin describes the science behind the various treatment protocols they provide, including the MSC therapy (which I personally do not favor as first-attempt treatment but would consider it following HSCT once the antigen epitope has been rendered naive via chemo ablation):
http://www.informed-scientist.org/prese ... -sclerosis