A recent study shows that injecting a type of stem cells into the brains of patients with multiple sclerosis achieves promising results and can protect the brain from damage from the disease.
The study, published Monday in the journal Stem Cell by researchers from Britain and Italy, is a step toward developing an advanced stem cell therapy for multiple sclerosis, a crippling disease that leaves some sufferers unable to walk on their own. walk in general.
More than two million people worldwide live with multiple sclerosis, which is caused by the body’s immune system destroying “myelin,” the protective sheath around the nerve fibers surrounding the brain and spinal cord. brain and other parts of the body.
Recent research advances have revealed that stem cell therapies can help reduce this vulnerability by infusing or transplanting “master” stem cells into the body.
After a previous successful study conducted in mice to test this approach, the researchers continued their new study in humans, where neural stem cells were injected directly into the brains of 15 multiple sclerosis patients in Italy.
Stem cells were extracted from cells taken from fetal brain tissue, and the researchers followed the patients for 12 months, during which time there were no treatment-related deaths or serious adverse effects.
At the start of the trial, all patients showed a high degree of disability, with most requiring a wheelchair.
However, during the 12-month follow-up period, none of them showed an increase in disability or worsening of symptoms, and none of the patients reported symptoms suggestive of relapse, and their cognitive functions did not deteriorate significantly during the study period. Researchers believe this indicates significant persistence of the disease.
The researchers evaluated a subset of patients for changes in the volume of brain tissue associated with disease progression, and found that the higher the dose of injected stem cells, the smaller the brain volume over time.
Professor Stefano Pluchino, the lead researcher of the study from the University of Cambridge in the UK, says: “This study is the first phase of clinical trials in humans to assess the feasibility, safety and tolerability of neural stem cell injections in patients with multiple sclerosis.”
He added to Asharq Al-Awsat, “The success achieved by the group at this stage is a prerequisite for developing efficacy studies, which will be the next step for the research group,” pointing out that “experiments will be conducted in larger numbers. Patients should better monitor the therapeutic effects of this approach.”