January 30, 2009 — 10:34am ET By John Carroll
From The FierceBioResearcher web site.
Stem cell therapy was able to reverse the neurological damage inflicted by multiple sclerosis, according to a new study. And the procedure, which relies on bone marrow cells, could offer a radically new approach to treating a notoriously drug-resistant condition.
A research team at Chicago's Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine injected 21 patients with their own stem cells and also treated them with the drug alemtuzumab, which has demonstrated an ability to halt disease progression. Over a period of three years, 17 of the patients reported an improvement in their symptoms and the rest saw the disease stabilize. None of the volunteers worsened over that period of time.
"These are very encouraging results and it's exciting to see that in this trial not only is progression of disability halted, but damage appears to be reversed," said Dr. Doug Brown, research manager at the MS Society. "Stem cells are showing more and more potential in the treatment of MS and the challenge we now face is proving their effectiveness in trials involving large numbers of people."
None of the therapies in use today can reverse the symptoms of MS.