There are many clinical trials in progress around the world using stem cells as a treatment for different diseases including multiple sclerosis. Recent results, in an important clinical trial, provide evidence that high-dose immunosuppressive therapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation can induce sustained remission of the disease. In addition, research from multiple research organizations over the last decade has led to the conclusion that stem cell transplantation is the most promising treatment modality not only to prevent secondary complications but also to improve neurological damage.
You may have many questions including; How does it work? What did researchers find? Can stem cells actually improve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis? The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica wants to keep you up to date with the most important information and news about stem cells treatments.
What is multiple sclerosis and who is affected?
Multiple sclerosis affects 2.3 million people worldwide. The disease is caused by the immune system breaking down, resulting in damaged nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This leads to symptoms like fatigue, difficulty with limb movement, balance, and vision. Currently, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis.
Can Stem Cells Help patients with multiple sclerosis?
According to the findings of a recent study published in the journal “JAMA Neurology”, stem cell transplantation can help patients with advanced multiple sclerosis.
Where are the patients from?
The study included data from 25 treatment centers across 13 countries, identifying 281 patients with multiple sclerosis who underwent autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation between 1995-2006.
The treatment with stem cells aims to prevent the immune system from attacking the nerve cells by using aggressive chemotherapy and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
What does de procedure consist of?
The procedure consists of the following steps: 1. Doctors collect a participant’s blood-forming stem cells. 2. Doctors give the participant high-dose chemotherapy to deplete the immune system, and 3. Clinicians return intravenously the participant’s own stem cells to rebuild the immune system.
What kind of patients were treated in this trial?
The autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation was given to patients with advanced forms of multiple sclerosis that had failed to respond to other medications or therapies.
What did the researchers find?
The findings showed that stem cell transplantation prevents symptoms of the disease from worsening for up to five years in 46% of patients, and some symptoms even improved following the treatment.
How were patients evaluated?
In the study, researchers evaluated patients’ progression free survival (PFS) at 5 years after treatment and any improvements in multiple sclerosis symptoms. They used the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). An EDSS score of zero represents no disability, seven represents the use of a wheelchair, while 10 represents death from multiple sclerosis. At the beginning of the study, patients had an average EDSS score of 6.5. The clinicians found that 5 years after treatment with stem cells, 46 percent of patients experienced no disease progression in that period of time. Patients with inflammatory attacks followed by periods of remission had the best outcomes, with 73 percent experiencing no worsening of symptoms in the 5 years after stem cells transplantation.
Impressively, in addition to no disease progression, patients also experienced small improvements in multiple sclerosis symptoms after stem cell transplantation.
Which patients had better outcomes?
Patients with a younger age, few immunotherapies prior to autologous stem cell transplantation and a lower EDSS score at study baseline showed better outcomes.
Another observational study of patients with multiple sclerosis treated with autologous hematopoietic stem cells transplantation showed that almost half of patients remained free from neurological progression for 5 years after transplant. These results support the rationale for further randomized clinical trials of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Don’t doubt it anymore! The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica Rica provides you with the best environment, highly trained professionals and top technologies to help you into the stem cells treatment world. Contact us today.