Promising results of stem cell therapy for MS

Results from a trial in centres in Sweden, the UK, the US and Brazil show that autologous stem cell therapy halted the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). The results, which were presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Society for Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation, show that the treatment was more effective that the drug treatment that the control group received. Only one person (6%) in the stem cell group relapsed, compared to 39 people (60%) in the control group. Patients received chemotherapy to wipe out the immune cells that  attack the myelin that coats the neurons. Their immune systems were then re-started by bone marrow cells. These cells are not affected by the disease, which allowed patients to receive their own bone marrow cells, thus avoiding rejection of the graft. Researchers and clinicians round the world have hailed the treatment as "miraculous" and "life-changing", but highlighted that further research is needed and that the trial has not yet been published in a peer reviewed journal. However, the reported results seem to be more impressive than those of previous trials.

To find out more: Independent