DAVID GRANOVSKY

Repair Stem cell transplants help MS victims

In ALL ARTICLES, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 8, 2009 at 1:07 am

Multiple Sclerosis Affect on Myelin Shaeth

By Agency Reporter -Published: Sunday, 8 Feb 2009

Stem cell transplantation seems to stop and, in some cases, undo neurological damage in people with multiple sclerosis, a small study shows.

The trial involved just 21 patients, but a larger, randomized trial is under way in the United States, Canada and Brazil.

”This is the first trial for any phase of MS, whether early or later, of any therapy anywhere that has shown reversal of neurological disability,” said study author Dr. Richard K. Burt, chief of the division of immunotherapy at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

MS is a disease in which the immune system turns on the body and attacks myelin, the protective covering on nerve cells. The disease usually starts with a ”relapse-remitting” phase, with alternating periods of flare-ups of symptoms and relatively peaceful spans. After a decade or so, however, most patients move into the more severe, secondary-progressive form of the disease.

”There is a need to find a means by which we can control the progression of MS, particularly in these patients who are not responding to FDA-approved therapies,” said Patricia O‘Looney, vice president of biomedical research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Treatments are clustered toward the relapse-remitting stage, with little available for the latter stage. ”Generally, when you get to late progressive MS, nothing really works,” Burt said.

The technique used in this study, autologous non-myeloablative hemopoietic stem cell transplantation, ”resets” the immune system and is already used for secondary-progressive MS.

via The Punch: Stem cell transplants help MS victims.

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