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MS stem cell trials hope

6th May 2010

Scientists at a UK hospital say they are encouraged by the results of stem cell injections on multiple sclerosis patients.

stem cell research

Clinical trials – thought to be the first in the world - on six multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are being conducted at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

After the six were injected with stem cells harvested from their own bone marrow, research found this increased nerve function by up to 20%.

Following the initial encouraging results, the team is planning a much larger trial of the technique.

For the current trial, carried out by a team from the University of Bristol, scientists collected and filtered hundreds of thousands of the patients’ PCT stem cells from their bone marrow while they were under general anaesthetic and were then injected into the patients’ bloodstream.

With the cells coming from each patient’s own body, there are no ethical issues surrounding their use.

However, study leader Professor Neil Scolding said there was still a lot of work to do on the research and that the symptoms that the patients had did not change a great deal.

Professor Scolding added: “They didn't get a lot worse over the 12-month period - and you might have expected them to - but neither was there a great difference in what patients could actually do. So this is just a beginning."

MS is a nervous system disorder that affects around 40 in every 100,000 people in the UK and can lead to various symptoms, including muscle weakness, fatigue, loss of co-ordination, visual and speech difficulties.

 

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