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Wednesday 26th June 2019

Bone marrow stem cell trial begins

5th December 2011

Researchers are interested in recruiting 80 people for bone marrow stem cell research to combat multiple sclerosis (MS) after initial trials on six volunteers showed promising results.

stem cell research

The scientists, from Bristol University, harvested bone marrow from the volunteers, filtered out the stem cells and then injected them back into the patients.

They were working with the idea that stem cells play a role in repairing damage to myelin (the cover of nerve cells which acts to protect it) which causes MS.

The results of the initial study, which was published in the Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics journal, showed "the possibility of benefit".

Professor Neil Scolding said last year when the study was published: "We are encouraged by the results of this early study. The safety data are reassuring and the suggestion of benefit tantalising." 

Professor Scolding said further research was needed as the study did not actually prove that injecting stem cells improved the condition.

After receiving a £700,000 donation, Bristol University and Frenchay Hospital want to start the new, larger trial in February.

Sarah Mehta, from the MS Society, said of the research: "Stem cell therapies have the potential to change the treatment landscape for people diagnosed with MS and so it’s encouraging to see research groups in the UK exploring this field."

"However, it is important to note that scientists are still some way off from a safe and effective stem cell therapy for MS."


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