Stem cell treatment failed to reduce inflammation in MS

Treatment with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has failed to significantly reduce inflammation in the brain of adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) in a phase 2 clinical trial. The into-the-vein treatment also failed to improve other clinical aspects of the condition.

MSCs are found in several areas of the body, such as skin, bone marrow and fat. They are capable of maturing into lots of different types of cell.

MSCs have been gaining interest due to their immunosuppressive, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and regenerative abilities as a possible therapy for a lot of conditions.

To treat a patient, cells are collected from them, and then the number of cells is increased in a laboratory. They are then infused back into the patient’s bloodstream, which it’s known as intravenous injection. If it is injected into the fluid around the brain and spinal cord, it’s known as intrathecal injection.

There have been animal studies which have suggested that MRCs may be able to promote tissue repair, change the immune response and lessen MS-like disease.

In this trial, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were used to see if the therapy had benefitted the patients. While the intravenous treatment was found to be well-tolerated by them, they didn’t find any of the “demonstrated neuroprotective and ‘tissue healing’ properties [seen] in other studies,” the researchers said.

More research is needed, as these results were in contrast to results from another trial which saw beneficial effects in patients who had the cells directly injected into the spinal canal.