Multiple sclerosis therapy that uses mesenchymal stem cells proves so far safe and not having adverse side effects, international Mesems project says. The data supporting the finding was obtained through clinical trials and announced prior to the World Congress on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis.
The Mesems project is coordinated by researchers from University of Genoa, Italy, and involves researchers from eight countries – Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. It is devoted to phase II clinical trial to determine the safety and effectiveness of mesenchymal stem cell transplantation for multiple sclerosis patients.
To date, the study involved 81 patients, which is a half of the 160 patients required for this clinical trial. The participants were given placebo or various number of mesenchymal stem cell injections, and only 33% (27 participants) have completed the study so far. None of them suffered any significant adverse effects which proves the protocol to be safe so far. Moreover, over the past year, all the participants that received stem cell treatment did relatively well, which was not the case with a participant who got placebo.
Based on the preceding animal study, the researchers anticipate that mesenchymal stem cells can halt the disease progression and even repair minor damages to the nervous cells. However, they caution that the treatment efficacy can be determined only after the study completes in 2016. After this, the researchers plan to launch a phase III study that will study reparative role of mesenchymal stem cells.