With ongoing progress in different eras of medicine, stem cells have revolutionized the way many diseases that were thought incurable are now being studied and cured. They are a unique type of cells that have the ability to differentiate into different types of cells within the body. Besides being extremely anti-inflammatory, they also have the ability to divide and self-renew. This makes stem cells an attractive option for the treatment of many different diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS).
They can be obtained from various sources, including bone marrow, peripheral blood, and cord blood. They can also be generated in the lab from pluripotent cells such as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Much work is being done regarding the use of stem cell for MS treatment. In this article, you will learn about how stem cell treatment can be a breakthrough in treating multiple sclerosis by helping improve a person’s symptoms and slowing down the progression of the disease.
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS) and can lead to many symptoms, including:
- muscle weakness;
- difficulty with coordination and balance.
What age group is most commonly affected by the disorder?
Pediatric multiple sclerosis is MS that starts before the age of 16 years. Generally, MS can affect people from all age groups but is commonly found in young adults between the ages of 20–40. This was proved in a study conducted in Lorraine, France, over a period of 20 years.
What causes multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is caused by the immune system attacking the myelin sheath surrounding nerve fibers, damaging nerves, and transmitting signals within the CNS.
|“The severity of MS can vary from person to person, some people are very deeply impacted by the trajectory of MS, while others are more mildly impacted. Often, the most difficult and trying aspects of MS can be its ‘invisible’ impacts, meaning fatigue and mood swings, among other symptoms.”
Dr. Jacob Hascalovici, MD, CMO, Clearing
Is there a cure for multiple sclerosis?
There is currently no cure for the disorder, but a promising new breakthrough in stem cell treatment has shown great potential for managing this debilitating condition.
|“Up until almost 2010, there were really only a handful of therapeutic options for relapsing MS. Within the past 10 years, we’ve had this explosion of therapies. As a result, I think we are in a pretty good place in terms of the treatments that you discuss, in terms of preventing new attacks of MS, flare-ups, and new lesions forming on MRI, which we know makes a big difference in the course of someone’s disease. The goal is always going to be to diagnose MS as early as possible and start those treatments as early as possible but we’re always going to have a group of people who, unfortunately, have been left with a permanent disability from prior attacks.”
Dr. Michael Davin Kornberg, M.D., Ph.D., M.S., Program Director of eMultipleSclerosis Review
MS stem cell treatment
In recent years, stem cell treatment for MS has become an increasingly popular therapy option. The therapy involves collecting stem cells from the patient, processing them in the lab, and then re-infusing them back into the patient’s body. It is hoped that these cells will then travel to the site of the damage within the CNS and help to repair and regenerate damaged nerve tissue.
While MS stem cell treatment has been used in clinical trials for many years, a new breakthrough in 2023 has shown particular promise in treating this condition. The breakthrough involves the use of iPSCs that have been derived from the patient’s own skin cells. These cells are then differentiated into oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), which are cells that can develop into myelin-producing cells within CNS.
Multiple sclerosis stem cell treatment uses patient-derived iPSCs for disease treatment and has significant advancement for several reasons. Firstly, it eliminates the risk of rejection or complications associated with using stem cells from a donor. Secondly, it allows for producing large quantities of OPCs, which can then be used to treat multiple patients. Finally, it overcomes ethical issues associated with the use of embryonic stem cells.
Breakthrough In Research
The breakthrough in iPSC-based stem cell therapy for MS was first reported in a study published in the journal Nature Medicine in early 2023. A team of researchers at a leading medical center announced a breakthrough in stem cell treatment for the disorder. The team used a novel approach to generate neural stem cells from the patient’s own skin cells, which were then transplanted back into the patient’s brain and spinal cord.
The study involved a small group of MS patients who had failed to respond to conventional treatments. and the results were very promising. The patients showed significant improvements in motor function, coordination, and balance and reduced fatigue and other symptoms associated with MS. The researchers found that this treatment significantly improved patients’ symptoms and quality of life. MRI scans also showed a reduction in the size and number of brain lesions associated with multiple sclerosis.
The researchers involved in the study noted that iPSC-based stem cell treatments for MS had several advantages. One of the main advantages was the ability to produce large quantities of OPCs, allowing more widespread treatment of patients. The therapy was also found to be safe and well-tolerated, with no adverse events reported.
Despite the study’s promising results, more research is needed before therapy can be widely adopted as a standard treatment for MS. The researchers noted that larger clinical trials are needed to confirm the safety and efficacy of therapy and determine the optimal dose and duration of treatment. They also highlighted the need for ongoing patient monitoring to assess therapy’s long-term effects.
Advantages of the treatment
While stem cell therapy for MS is still in the early stages of development, a breakthrough in iPSC-based therapy represents a significant step forward in the search for a cure for this debilitating condition. With further research and development, multiple sclerosis stem cell treatment may one day provide a safe and effective treatment option for millions worldwide affected by the condition. Following are some of the main advantages of this treatment:
- It reduces the severity of MS symptoms.
- Stem cells have the ability to repair damaged neurons.
- Stem Cells allow for the regeneration of tissue due to their anti-inflammatory quality.
- The therapy is non-invasive, and no downtime is required.
In conclusion, the breakthrough in multiple sclerosis stem cells treatment using iPSCs is a promising new development. The researchers plan to conduct larger clinical trials further to test stem cell treatment’s safety and efficacy. They are also exploring ways to improve the efficiency and scalability of the process to make it more widely available to patients.
While the breakthrough is exciting, experts caution that more research is needed to fully understand the potential of stem cell treatments for MS and other conditions. They also note that the treatment is still experimental and not yet approved by regulatory agencies for widespread use. Nevertheless, the new findings represent a significant step forward in the search for effective treatments for multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases and offer hope to millions worldwide affected by these conditions.