Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplant Safe and Helps Delay MS Progression, Analysis Shows

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According to a research study, using patient’s stem cells is considered a safe method in slowing down disease degeneration, for those with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Research also showed that cells inserted into the spinal cord region, were linked to much lower disease degeneration incidences, versus cells put inside the bloodstream.

In the article, “Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation in Multiple Sclerosis: A Meta-Analysis”, seen in “Stem Cells International” Journal, relying on regenerative medicine as a therapeutic method for (MS) is becoming more and more common. Stem cell therapy is often used in the following regions in the body: bone marrow, skin, and fat tissue.

Indeed, the definition of autologous stem cell transplant, means using patient’s cells for laboratory use to increase quantity. Cells are then put into patient’s bloodstream, through IV, or inserted in the spinal region.

Academic researchers from China performed multiple clinical trials on the use and safety of stem cell therapy in MS patients.

9 studies were done, with a total of 133 patients involved in the clinical trial studies. These included patients with relapsing MS, progressive MS, and secondary MS.

From these 8 studies, the stem cells were extracted from the bone marrow, and from 1 study, extracted from fat tissue. From these 3 studies, cells were inserted to the patient’s bloodstream by IV. 1 study utilized both methods for the transplant study.

Participants were closely monitored for 6 months, to 8 years, during the post transplant stage. Patient’s results went through assessment by evaluating any modifications regarding EDSS (expanded disability status scale). This particular method is used to measure MS level, with high EDSS scores indicating high disability level, and MRI results. Based on the analysis in the 9 studies, it showed low fever, slight headache, backache, nausea and vomiting, bacterial meningitis after spinal injection, and urinary/respiratory infections.

There were no mortalities related to transplants when the follow up took place. 8-40 months after study completion, 2 mortalities were reported. However, both mortalities had nothing to do with the transplant.

On the effectiveness regarding the treatment, disease results increased at a percentage of 16% at 6 months, and 35% by 1 year. On the follow up, a percentage of 72% in patients fulfilled status demonstrating status of NEDA (“no evidence of disease activity”). This is defined as, no signs demonstrating disability increase, nor relapses in the clinical aspect, or new signs of MRI lesions, from 6 months, and a percentage of 62% after 1 year.

The research team also identified, that the transplant by spinal injection, had to do with much lower incidences in the 6 month and 1 year progression rates versus with IV injection.

There were no major modifications having to do with age, EDSS, MS duration in the clinical study trials.

Researchers stated that in these clinical study trials, they showed the safety regarding autologous mesenchymal stem cells (aMSC’s ), in treating MS. Researchers also stated that the biggest advantage, would be the patient profile taken from patients with an aMSC’s spinal injection.

In closing, the research team stated that overall consideration on the outcomes show that aMSC’s transplanting is deemed as safe, and better evaluation of more studies demonstrating efficacy should be developed in the near future.

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