Hopeful multiple sclerosis trials
Encouraging results have brought clinical trials on six multiple
sclerosis (MS) patients, after they received stem cell injections. The
trials took place at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol and are supposed to
be a world first. The six patients were injected with stem cells
harvested from their own bone marrow. This helped to increase nerve
function by up to 20%.
To the fact, a multiple sclerosis is a nervous system
disorder that affects around 40 in every 100,000 people in the UK.
Usually it leads to a variety of symptoms, including muscle weakness,
fatigue, loss of co-ordination, visual and speech difficulties.
A study was undertaken by a team from the University of Bristol.
Hundreds of thousands of the patients' PCT stem cells were collected
and filtered from their bone marrow while they were under general
anaesthetic. Prof. Neil Scolding, a study leader, stressed to the BBC
that the research was still in its infancy.
The cells were injected en
masse into the patients' bloodstream. Because the cells come from
the patients' own bodies, there are no ethical issues surrounding
their use. Such treatment has the added benefit of being a relatively
pain-free procedure and it has no side effects.
A larger study is required to assess the effectiveness of bone marrow
cellular therapy in treating MS. The scientists hope that recruitment
to this phase 2/3 study may begin towards the end of this year.