Much of the controversy that swirls around Stem Cell Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis is when the stem cells come from embryos.  But a new Stem Cell Treatment for MS doesn’t have anything to do with embryos. Instead, the British researchers are using stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow.

Scientists have thought for a long time that stem cells could stop and perhaps even reverse the damage done by MS to the spinal cord and parts of the brain.  But now a team at the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust believe they have proved the theory true.


This Stem Cell Treatment for MS lasted for longer than a year


Over the year, patients in this Stem Cell Treatment for MS were monitored closely and regularly and were given brain scans to document the treatment’s impact.  It involved six patients between the ages of 30 and 60 that had had bone marrow extracted (a pint) out of their own pelvises.  After extraction, the marrow undergoes another step before being re-injected back into the patient.

The Stem Cell Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis in this trail had to be filtered to take out all of the bone and fat from it and re-injected all within the same day.  What ended up being injected back into the patients arm was pure stem cells.  Stem cells have been shown to be able to develop into other cell types.  It is this unique ability that holds the promise for stem cell treatment for MS.  And in this study, the results show that the filtered stem cells make their way back up thru the bloodstream and into the damaged brain areas where they seem to regenerate and repair those areas. The yearlong monitoring showed that the damaged nerve pathways carried electrical pulses significantly more effectively after the treatment was done.  Furthermore, there were no serious adverse effects shown after treatment or throughout the year following.  The whole procedure was almost pain free for the patients and didn’t even require an overnight stay in the hospital.

The study was done at Frenchay Hospital and it is notable not only for the results but also because it avoids the ethical controversy that halts many stem cell studies because it does not involve the use of any human embryos.

The next step for these researchers is to carry out a longer and more inclusive study to see if the treatment can be improved and to see if the stem cell treatment for multiple sclerosis works consistently across a wider sampling of patients.

Professor Neil Scolding, who led the breakthrough stem cell treatment for MS study using bone marrow said: “The safety data are reassuring and the suggestion of benefit tantalizing.”

It is likely that bone marrow will be used in subsequent stem cell treatment for MS studies because it contains the type of stem cells that can replace other cells in many of the body’s tissues and organs.