Stem Cell Transplants Could Provide Long-Term Remission for Patients with MS

An international clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of stem cells for the treatment of MS showed stem cell transplantation could halt the progression, improve symptoms of the disease and reduce disability for patients with remitting-relapsing MS.

The interim 3-year results from a trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of stem cell transplant vs currently available medications in the treatment of remitting-relapsing MS, were presented in March, in Lisbon, at the European Society for Bone and Marrow Transplantation. After 3 years of follow up, patients that received a stem cell transplant continued to do much better than patients in the control group that continued to receive traditional standard of care treatment.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system.  The disease is characterized by recurrent episodes of focal inflammatory demyelination resulting in neurological symptoms.  Conventional therapy reduces or stops the episodes of inflammation but does not effectively impact the course of progressive MS. The most common form of MS is relapsing-remitting.

Standard of care includes:

  • Interferon therapies
  • Glatiramer acetate
  • Natalizumab
  • Alemtuzumab
  • Mitoxantrone

A combination of these drugs can modify the course of the disease and can alleviate symptoms, but they are costly, and are associated with serious side effects. It can be difficult for patients to find the right combination of medications that address all of the symptoms, and serious side effects can keep patients from maintaining the necessary treatment. Patients are in desperate need of better treatment options and stem cell therapy may be the answer they are looking for.

One hundred and two patients with remitting-relapsing MS, from the United States, England, Sweden and Brazil enrolled in the trial and received either chemotherapy followed by stem cell transplantation or drug treatment. Fifty-two patients received stem cell therapy and the results were compared to fifty patients that received drug therapy.

After 1 year only 1 patient in the stem cell group experienced a relapse and at 3 years, 6 patients experienced a relapse. In the group receiving drug therapy 39 patients experienced a relapse after 1 year and at 3 years, drug therapy failed completely in 30 out of 50 of the patients.  In addition, patients that received drug therapy continued to experience increased disability while patients that received stem cell therapy saw an improvement in their disability.

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica uses adult autologous stem cells to treat chronic diseases including; multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Using the most advanced technologies, the team of experts at The Stem Cells Transplant Institute believes in the potential of stem cell therapy for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. We are committed to providing personalized service and the highest quality of care to every patient. Contact the experts at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute to see if stem cells transplantation is right for you.