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Can Stem Cells Be A Game Changer for MS Patients?

Apr 2, 2019 10:08:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD

Chess Battle Concept Idea_AdobeStock_149679644-1Stem-cells and MS are widely discussed, but we might be finally getting closer to stem-cell treatments for MS patients.

Stem cell therapies are investigated for their potential to provide long-lasting or permanent remission of multiple sclerosis (MS) signs and symptoms. Many patients are well-informed of the potential of stem cell therapy for MS, and many seek treatments abroad that are promoted to give positive or curative outcomes. There are also clinics in the US that provide treatments that are outside of FDA-approved uses. The only FDA-approved, stem-cell based products used in the US consist of CD34+ stem cells derived from cord blood.

Stem-cell technology can be harnessed to regenerate any type of tissue and possibly provide a basis for treatment of diseases that currently have no cures or considerably positive outcomes. The FDA now has new guidelines to promote regenerative medicine advanced therapies (RMATs) with a potentially high impact for serious and life-threatening diseases and conditions. One current clinical trial under RMAT is for patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). The trial involves obtaining CD34+ stem cells from patients with TBI, processing them, then infusing the cells back into the patients. The objective is to mitigate the excessive immune responses of TBI, while enhancing the anti-inflammatory process.

Meanwhile, the FDA is addressing the issue of clinics that provide unproven stem-cell treatments. For example, the FDA is seeking injunctions against clinics in Florida and California that provide non-FDA–approved stem-cell therapies or therapies that are not part of an investigational new drug (IND) study. The hope is that RMAT can bring promising stem-cell based therapies to the forefront leading to approval and patient access to proven therapies.

A number of clinical trials are ongoing that investigate stem-cell based therapies for MS. For instance, enrollment is underway for a study on neural stem-cell transplantation in patients with MS. Another study involving CD34+ stem cells investigates the immunological mechanisms of hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) in patients with MS.

Although these are not RMAT trials, and there are no MS RMAT trials yet, the potential is great for the emergence of new RMAT trials to open the door for innovative and very effective stem-cell based treatments for MS.

Visit HemaCare’s products page to purchase cells and tissues for your research needs.

Reference:MS and Stem Cell Therapy: Do We Have the Key to Future Treatments?. (2018). Multiple Sclerosis News Today. Retrieved 24 October 2018, from

Topics: Stem Cell Therapy, Stem Cells

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