Tag Archives: stem cell

Adult Stem Cells, Not Embryonic, Helping Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

A groundbreaking new study provides more good news for treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) with adult stem cells. Researchers at the University of Bristol used patients’ own adult stem cells to treat their MS.

In a Phase I clinical trial, six patients with MS were treated with their own bone marrow adult stem cells and their progress followed for one year. The treatment appeared to stabilized the patients’ condition and showed some benefits. As one measure of the success of the procedure, damaged nerve pathways were able to carry electrical pulses more effectively after the treatment.

Multiple sclerosis is an incurable disease, with the patient’s own immune system attacking the central nervous system and eventually leaving many patients in a wheelchair.

One of the most encouraging aspects of this trial was the elegantly simple procedure. Patients reported to the hospital and had bone marrow adult stem cells removed, the cells were filtered, and then given back to the patients intravenously. The patients went home before the end of the day.

The research team is led by Professor Neil Scolding, at the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust. Professor Scolding said:

“We are encouraged by the results of this early study. The safety data are reassuring and the suggestion of benefit tantalising. Research into the underlying mechanisms is ongoing and vital, in order to build on these results. We believe that stem cells mobilised from the marrow to the blood are responsible, and that they help improve disease in several ways, including neuroprotection and immune modulation.”

The team is now planning a Phase II/III study. The report for this trial is published in the Nature journal Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Previous studies have also had good success at stopping MS progression, and in some cases putting patients into remission. Dr. Richard Burt at Northwestern University has published several studies showing good success using adult stem cells to “reboot”  the immune system of MS patients.

Scientists in Australia have also used the procedure with success, and recently Dr. Mark Freedman of Ottawa, Canada has produced “long-lasting remission” in MS patients.

In these cases, patients had their bone marrow adult stem cells collected, then received chemotherapy to knock the rogue immune cells that were attacking their nervous system. Then their adult stem cells were re-injected.

While recent successful treatments have used milder chemotherapy, this is still not a gentle or risk-free procedure for the patient.

The new approach by the Bristol team is all the more interesting in this respect, because there is no pre-conditioning with chemotherapy.

An international group of multiple sclerosis researchers have looked at these uses of adult stem cells for treatment of MS, and propose moving forward with additional clinical trials to help patients.

Placenta-derived stem cell therapy may benefit patients with Crohn’s disease

The successes for adult, cord blood, and placental-derived stem cells just keep piling up. Now comes an AP report saying, “Celgene Corporation … reported a successful safety trial of a placenta-derived stem cell therapy as a treatment for Crohn’s disease.”

During the trial, “12 patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease,” who had been previously treated unsuccessfully, “were given two infusions of Celgene’s PDA-001 at one week apart, at one of two doses.”

According to Celgene, patients who received a lower-dose of PDA-001 appeared to benefit from the treatment and clinical remission was noted in four participants, Reuters reported.

Such findings were considered so encouraging that the firm has decided to test the therapy on a broad spectrum of diseases.

What’s more, PDA-001 is unlikely to draw ire, because it is cultivated from healthy, full-term human placental tissue.

Could this be another death knell for the unwise and unethical research on stems cells taken from unborn human children? I could only hope and pray so.

Healing for the Holidays: Adult Stem Cell Research Still Outpaces Embryonic by Miles and Miles and Miles …

Today we seem to be floating on a tattered raft of bad news, but this is a week for Thanksgiving, and it seems only right to note that for all the trouble we face, we live in the most blessed times in human history. This is also an extraordinary era for medicine. As we count our blessings this week, consider what one field – adult stem cell research and therapy – is accomplishing for human healing.

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