Stem cell treatment for MS in five years?

Scientists hope to show that stem cell replacement can slow, stop, or even reverse damage caused by the disease of the central nervous system.

Some 100,000 people in Britain suffer from MS, with symptoms that can include dizziness and lack of balance, muscle spasms and blurred vision. It tends to get worse over time and there is no cure. However, later this year an international £10 million trial of up to 200 volunteers will begin looking at the effects of stem cell transplantation.

The participants, including 13 in Britain, will have stem cells harvested from their own bone marrow and grown in a laboratory before being re-injected into the bloodstream.

MS is caused by the immune system attacking a protective substance around nerve fibres called myelin. Where this happens scars, called lesions, are left behind. The hypothesis is that the stem cells will target these lesions and repair the damage…

Paolo Muraro, lead researcher on the study, based at Imperial College, London, said: “This is the first time that researchers from around the world have come together to test stem cell therapies in MS in such a large-scale clinical trial…

Just another positive avenue of experimentation now that most of the superstitious interruptions to such research have been set aside. The Brits have had less interference than physicians in the United States and we can only hope American voters won’t return us to the darkness of faith-based “science” again in the next few years.

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