There are a lot of people with high hopes for Stem Cell MS treatment to one day become the holy grail in MS treatment, symptom relief, even cure. Many celebrities have voiced their support for stem cell research to cure diseased of all types. MS is just one of them. A small study conducted at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine is one of many showing promise. The results of the study were published in The Lancet Neurology and authored by Richard Burt, chief of Immunotherapy for Autoimmune Diseases at the school.  The bottom line of the study was that 80% of the enrolled participants showed symptom improvement in their early-stage Multiple Sclerosis.


The idea of the study was to develop a therapy to regenerate a new immune system


Even with the high hopes for Stem Cell MS treatment, that is quite a tall order, and would certainly revolutionize current treatment methods currently in use.  After all, it is the patient’s own immune system that attacks itself.  More specifically, the immune system destroys the myelin sheath protecting the nerve cells, disrupting the signals between the brain and the remainder of the patient’s body.  So a newly generated immune system would be exactly what is needed.


How was this new Stem Cell MS treatment administered?


The researchers used a method known as autologous non-myeloablative haemopoietic stem cell transplantation.  What that long term means is that the doctor and his team eliminated the immune cells that were not behaving correctly and replaced them with healthy immune calls generated from stem cells.  The patient group was small, consisting of only 21 people, and all of them had the most common form of MS – the relapsing-remitting form.  RRMS patients have symptoms that come and go at varying intervals, but can become quite debilitating when the relapses do occur.

The group was given drugs that caused their bone marrow to release immune stem cells into the blood.   Immune stem cells have the unique ability to morph into any type of immune cells.  They proceeded to then extract these immune cells from the blood and gave the patients a drug combination that completely wiped out their unruly and overactive current immune system.  After the drug mixture wiped out the immune system, the just extracted stem cells were re-injected into the patients, where they quickly divided and “grew” a fresh batch of normal immune cells.


The follow up findings on the stem cell MS treatment method


The Stem Cell MS treatment was followed up 37 months later. 80 percent scored better on the Kurtzke expanded disability status scale (EDSS), which is a routine method used to score disability. The improvement was at least 1 point on the EDSS. The test scores things like motor strength, motor coordination, vision, and neurological function. The other 4 participants showed no improvement but did not digress either.

The next step is a larger trial, and comparison in controlled trials to other existing approved treatments. Tose larger scale studies are currently underway.