New Stem-Cell Treatment Offers Hope to Those with MS
Recent research indicates that a new stem-cell treatment halts the progress of multiple sclerosis and even reverses it in some individuals.
In a study conducted at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Richard K. Burt, MD, and his colleagues evaluated the effect of transplanted autologous nonmyeloablative haemopoietic stem cells on participants with relapsing-remitting MS.
After 3 years of follow-up the researchers found that 81% of those transplanted with the stem cells showed improved neurological function, scoring at least 1 point higher on the Kurtzke expanded disability status scale (EDSS). No one who had undergone the treatment showed signs of further deterioration in neurological functioning.
The procedure also appears to be fairly safe. Of the 21 participants, 1 had diarrhea, 2 had viral infections, and 2 developed thrombocytopenic purpura, and all of these side-effects went away with treatment. Only 5 participants had a relapse after transplantation, but they went into remission after receiving immunosuppressive therapy.
Although results are encouraging, it should be noted that the participants were fairly young, with an average age of 33, had had MS for an average of only 5 years, and were not severely disabled.
The researchers concluded that more study was needed, but that it appears autologous nonmyeloablative haemopoietic stem cell transplantation in individuals with relapsing-remitting MS with active inflammatory disease seems to prevent neurological progression and reverse neurological disability.
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