Stem cells could help treat multiple sclerosis – but it’s still early days

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Stem cells could help treat multiple sclerosis – but it’s still early days

There are some indications that a new MS stem cell treatment could work.

Multiple sclerosis affects millions of people worldwide. It’s a neurological disease characterised by inflammatory lesions in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) that cause damage to the myelin sheath – the protective layer around the nerve cells. This causes neurological dysfunction, such as muscle paralysis or loss of sensation. While some degree of spontaneous repair of the sheath occurs naturally, many patients accumulate irreversible disability.

There are two main types of MS, which have a different pattern of symptoms. There is primary progressive MS, a rarer form that affects 15% of patients who have no relapses and remissions, but suffer a slow worsening of symptoms. Then there is the most common form, relapsing-remitting MS, which affects 85% of patients. People with this form have relapses of symptoms that can last for some time before a remission period. And between a half and two thirds of patients with it are thought to go on to develop secondary progressive disease, in which MS-related disability becomes gradually more irreversible.

Available treatments for MS include injectable drugs, such as interferon-beta and natalizumab – which prevents some inflammatory immune cells from entering the brain and spinal cord where they can cause damage – and oral medications such as dimethylfumarate. Unfortunately all of these have limited if any efficacy in secondary progression, particularly in the advanced stages in which relapses no longer occur.

Read Full Article: Stem cells could help treat multiple sclerosis – but it’s still early days

Read Full Article: Stem cells could help treat multiple sclerosis – but it’s still early days

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