“Game Changing” Stem Cell Treatment for MS
Following an international trial Doctors are suggesting they have found a “game changing” treatment for the degrative condition multiple sclerosis (MS).
Early results from a stem cell transplant treatment showed a much higher success rate than the control group, which received a drug treatment.
The trial took place across four cities across the world and involved over 100 participants. The location included, Sheffield in the United Kingdom, Chicago in the United States, Sao Paulo Brazil and Uppsala in Sweden.
All the participants had a type of multiple sclerosis known as relapsing remitting. Relapsing remitting defined by periods of symptomatic “relapses” alternate with periods of remission.
The stem cell treatment saw chemotherapy destroy the patient’s immune system. This was then followed by the stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow and blood being reintroduced to ‘reboot’ the immune system.
One year on after the treatment, there was only one patient who had received the stem cell treatment that experienced a relapse, this compared to 39 from the control group. Three years on stem cells where seen to have failed in 3 of 52 recipients, whilst the drug treatment saw a failure rate of 60% evident, 30 out of 50 participants. These results were released at the annual meeting of the European Society for Bone and Marrow Transplantation in Lisbon.
Neurologist at Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Prof Basil Sharrack, told the BBC: “This is the best result I have seen in any trial for multiple sclerosis.” Having commented on the interim analysis.
Prof John Snowden, director of blood and bone marrow transplantation at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital also told the BBC “We are thrilled with the results – they are a game changer for patients with drug resistant and disabling multiple sclerosis”.
Louise Willetts who underwent the treatment as part of the international trial saw her MS become extremely severe. Two years ago, she was wheelchair bound, found reading a challenge, and had almost given up on her family and career ambitions.Today she told the BBC “It does feel like a miracle. I almost have to pinch myself and think ‘Is this real l? Is it really gone, is it ever going to come back?’”
Since she became one of the trial participants at Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Louise is symptom-free and there is no sign of the disease attacking her brain.
This treatment uses Hematopoietic Cells acquired from the donor’s bone marrow and blood, other cells such as Mesenchymal cells found in bone and dental pulp are being explored for MS therapy.
You can find more current information about research on stem cell treatment for MS on our website.