RECENT studies in multiple sclerosis
High-Dose Immunosuppression and Autologous Transplantation for Multiple SclerosisResearchers from the Immune Tolerance Network and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have released promising results from trials using stem cells to treat MS. The procedure of this study involved harvesting stem cells from the patient and reinjecting them into the patient’s bloodstream while treating the patient with an immunosuppressant drug. As is the goal with every clinical trial, these researchers wanted to test the safety of their treatment above all else and thankfully all participants avoided any treatment related mortality. The researchers also reported that the patients of this treatment had a 69-74% chance of not having any neurological relapses in the next 3-5 years. In the 5 years following treatment, the patients saw a decrease from their baseline score on the Extended Disability Status Scale (EDSS) that averaged -0.9, nearly a 10% improvement in neurological function. Patients also saw an average decrease of -2.7 in the number of MS-characteristic lesions seen on MRIs, a -2.3 decrease in the volume of lesions, and the number of new lesions seen after 5 years was an average of 0.1. Any single serious adverse effects of this treatment were not seen by large groups of patients and any adverse effects seen only impacted one or two of the patients. These results are an exciting indication of what could lie ahead for this emerging field if these trials and ones like these are continued and improved upon.