Stem Cell Therapy Breakthrough for MS
A breakthrough in stem cell therapy for MS (multiple sclerosis) has been announced by experts at the New York Stem Cell Foundation. Although the discovery involved individuals with primary progressive MS, the door has been opened for managing other forms of MS as well as other diseases.
The discovery involved taking skin samples from patients with primary progressive MS and developing pluripotent stem cell lines. In addition, the scientific team created a protocol that allowed the stem cells to transform into oligodendrocytes in about half the time of existing methods. What does all of this mean?
- Primary progressive MS is a type of MS that occurs in about 10 percent of individuals with the disease. It is the most severe form of the condition and is characterized by symptoms that get worse slowly. However, unlike relapsing-remitting MS (the most common form) and secondary progressive MS (another form of the disease), individuals do not experience relapses and remissions.
- Pluripotent stem cells are cells that are capable of perpetually creating more copies of themselves as well as producing any tissue or cell needed by the body
- Oligodendrocytes are cells that make myelin, the protective covering on nervous system cells and the material that becomes damaged and destroyed in MS patients
Therefore, this new breakthrough allows researchers to get even closer to understanding how MS develops before symptoms develop and can lead to much more. In fact, according to NYSCF Chief Executive Officer Susan L. Solomon, “We are so close to finding new treatments and even cures for MS,” and the new findings “will undoubtedly accelerate research for MS and many other diseases.”
While there are no cures or effective treatments for any of the different types of MS, the relentless progressive nature of this most serious form of the disease is especially distressing for those who are afflicted. If ongoing and future research concerning this new breakthrough progresses as hoped, individuals with MS and other demyelinating diseases may have an opportunity to receive cell transplantation treatments.