A brain injection halted the progression of multiple sclerosis in a trial of 15 people
Research published this week describes a promising start to the use of stem cell therapy for multiple sclerosis. In a small phase 1 trial, patients who had stem cells injected directly into their brains seemed to tolerate them well and did not experience any serious adverse effects. Scientists say the treatment may have stopped or slowed the progression of symptoms, but larger studies will be needed to confirm its effectiveness.
Multiple sclerosis It is an autoimmune condition caused by the ongoing deterioration of the myelin sheath in our nervous system, the protective covering surrounding nerve cells. People with MS experience various neurological symptoms, including numbness, muscle weakness, pain, and difficulty walking. There are different forms of MS, classified according to the duration and progression of their symptoms. For example, most people with MS have symptoms that initially fade and recur. But eventually, many people develop secondary progressive MS, which is when symptoms stop going away and get worse over time.
There are many treatments available today that can reduce the frequency of MS relapses and extend the time it takes for MS to become progressive. But even with medication, Up to two-thirds of people with relapsing symptoms will develop secondary MS within 25 to 30 years of initial diagnosis.
Laboratory and animal studies have suggested that stem cells — called building blocks that have the ability to become different types of cells — could hold the key to halting or even reversing the progression of MS. We are now beginning to see the first human trials testing the potential of stem cell therapy.
This new research, published Monday in Stem Cell is a collaboration between scientists from the University of Colorado, the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy. It included 15 patients from Italy diagnosed with secondary MS. Patients were given neural stem cells originally derived from a single donor (a fetus that died due to miscarriage) by injection directly into the brain. They were then observed for a year.
Phase I trials focus primarily on the safety and tolerability of the treatment. The treatment appears to have passed this test, with no serious adverse events or deaths reported during the trial. Other adverse events were mild, short-lived and possibly related to other medications people were taking to treat MS. Importantly, patients also did not experience any improvement in their symptoms. In a subset of patients, the researchers found evidence that a larger dose of stem cells was associated with a slower decline in brain volume, perhaps a sign that the treatment could reduce inflammation associated with MS.
These results are still very early, and many treatments that seem to work well in phase I research will fail when tested in more comprehensive trials. But for now, researchers are cautiously optimistic about the future of stem cell therapy for MS. The team is already planning larger studies, while other scientists are working on them Private trials.
“We realize that our study has limitations – it was only a small study and there may have been confounding effects from immunosuppressive drugs, for example – but it is a fact that our treatment was safe and that its effects persisted over the 12 months of the trial,” said study author and Cambridge researcher Stefano Pluchino. In an article: “It means we can move forward to the next stage of clinical trials.” statement from the University.
(Tags for translation)Multiple sclerosis