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Ongoing Research on Stem Cell Use for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Researchers announced start of a new clinical trial in Winnipeg, Canada, and its surroundings that will focus on application of autologous mesenchymal stem cells for multiple sclerosis treatment.

This is a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Participants will be randomized to receive either immediate or delayed treatment for multiple sclerosis. The group receiving immediate treatment will be administered suspension containing autologous mesenchymal stem cells, while the group that will receive delayed treatment will first receive suspension media at baseline, and after 24 weeks, treatments will be reversed. The suspension will be administered intravenously.

The primary aim of this study is to assess treatment safety within twelve months from stem cells administration and its effectiveness in terms of reduction in total number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions. To evaluate the latter, magnetic resonance imaging scans will be used. The secondary aim of the study is to evaluate clinical efficacy of the treatment, namely, whether it affects disability progression and reduces incidence of relapses.

The researchers rely on the ability of mesenchymal stem cells to modulate pathogenic immune responses and their neuroprotective qualities that were reported by in-vitro and in-vivo preclinical studies. The results of the study are expected in late 2016.

This trial is a continuation of previous work in the field of stem cell therapy for multiple sclerosis. For example, 2014 trial conducted at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai showed promising results. Some participants of the trial who undergone mesenchymal stem cell therapy demonstrated improvements a year later. Also, examination of participants’ brain scans has shown that most of the patients' disabilities had stooped progressing and none of the participants’ brain lesions had worsened.