Anyone knows where someone can participate in a clinical trial with MSC stem cells in Europe? In last august there was an announceent that clinical trails will start in 6 months all over in Europe for 150 patients.
Anyone knows what are the differences in efficiency and safety among the different MSC stem cell sources (like, fat, bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, etc.)?
I am a little bit confused what is the mechanism of MSC stem cells therapy. Are they supposed to repair the damage caused by MS or they are only neuroprotective?
All excellent questions, Lib. At this point the data is so sparse that all the questions regarding the underlying mechanisms of possible benefit are still unanswered. There have been a few basic phase I (safety & tolerability) studies, but they were very small patient populations and were designed to test safety, not efficacy. The next levels of phase II / III studies are designed to test efficacy, but have yet to start.
As of today, this study report out of Israel is the best compilation of scientific clinical data (which frankly, is not very conclusive):http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3036569/
Here is an article describing the European study out of the UK you mention that will be treating 150 patients. But again, this early study is designed to primarily test safety, not efficacy. If you want to participate in this study, I would suggest to contact the Imperial College London:
Doctors begin major stem cell trial for MS patientshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14332206
Cleveland Clinic is also doing a phase I study:http://www.healthcanal.com/drugs-approv ... y-for.html
And some Case Western researchers in a video report about this subject:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aE2fYP-0uk
Here is an article & video of a Canadian woman that received MSC infusion therapy at CTCI Israel that appears to have worked well for her specific case. But remember that this one case doesn't prove anything specific and does not directly translate to anyone else:http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Health/200811 ... nt_081116/
If you can't / don't get into the UK study, you can still pay to get the MSC treatment at CTCI in Israel:
"In-vitro" (in the test tube) cellular observations have shown that MSC's secrete cytokines that are thought to operate as messenger molucules to encourage or direct other cells to effect repair of nerve tissue. There is also some preliminary evidence that MSC's (in sufficient population quantities) "might" have some immunomodulatory effect (duration unknown) to reduce autoreactivity underlying MS. However, there is virtually no "in-vivo" (in the body) data to show clinical benefit in a controlled or repeated manner. So right now scientists are "hoping" that what has been observed at the cellular level will translate to benefit in a higher level functional organism (human body). So this is why population studies and trials must be performed. Until then, all these very important questions remain unanswered and there is only individual anecdotal information, which in itself does not hold any predictive usefulness as a treatment for MS.
The only "real" conclusions that have been determined so far is that 1) The re-infused MSC's must be culture-expanded to create a sufficiently large population (1-2M MSC cells per kg of body weight) to create some clinical effect (which also clearly shows that clinics, i.e. Panama, that do not manipulate the MSC population is completely ineffective and is snake oil rip-ff), and 2) The re-infused autologous MSC's so far appear to be safe. But beyond this, there is no conclusive evidence that this treatment is responsible for improving people's health. Although, the data is definitely encouraging and seems to point in the right direction.
This is why I'm happy to see the work continue in a controlled manner. If the results progress along as everyone hopes, I also would consider this treatment.