Stem cell trials for MS treatment

A major new global clinical trial will test whether stem cells can be safely used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), it was announced today.

It will investigate if cells can slow, stop and even reverse damage to the brain and spinal cord caused by active multiple sclerosis lesions. The results will advance medical knowledge "by years", scientists said.



The £10 million trial, involving up to 200 patients around the world, is due to start later this year and will last between three and five years.



Scientists in the UK have received £1 million in joint funding from the MS Society and the UK Stem Cell Foundation for the UK arm of the trial as well as two other studies.



Paolo Muraro, lead researcher on the study based at Imperial College, London, said: "This is the first time that researchers from around the world have come together to test stem cell therapies in MS in such a large-scale clinical trial.



"A trial of this scale would be impossible to run in one location which is why this type of collaboration is essential if we are to make progress in this field."



Researchers at trial sites in London and Edinburgh will harvest stem cells from the bone marrow of 13 trial participants, grow them in the laboratory and then re-inject them into the bloodstream.



The stem cells will make their way to the brain where it is thought they will repair the damage caused by MS - including targeting the "active" lesions, where damage is happening.



MS is a disabling neurological condition affecting the central nervous system and symptoms include problems with mobility, eyesight and bladder control, pain, extreme fatigue and muscle stiffness.



Scientists believe the new study will reduce the time taken to test whether stem cells could be a safe and effective treatment for people with MS by years, the MS Society said.



Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the charity, said: "Stem cells hold tremendous potential as a future treatment option for people with MS. We are delighted to be funding this world-leading piece of research which shows the power of an international research collaboration and joint working between charities."



In recent years many people living with MS have been attracted to overseas stem cell clinics which claim to cure long-term conditions in exchange for large amounts of money.



However there is no proven stem cell therapy available for MS anywhere in the world.



It is hoped these new trials will eventually lead to a proven treatment and a reduction in the draw of overseas treatments.













Sir Richard Sykes, chairman of the UK Stem Cell Foundation, said: "I am delighted that by working in collaboration with the MS Society we have been able to progress these most promising research projects more quickly than by working in isolation.



"Dr Muraro's research project is the first trial of its kind into the use of stem cells for the treatment of MS to take place in the UK. Given the high incidence of MS in the UK in comparison to other countries, I am delighted that we have at last progressed stem cell research to this stage, which will bring much-needed hope to so many people affected by this devastating condition."



Of the two other studies funded by the MS Society and the UK Stem Cell Foundation, one based at Queen Mary Hospital, London, will look at how stem cells can be used to repair nerve damage in people with MS who have optic neuritis, a symptom of MS that can lead to temporary blindness.



The other, based at the University of Nottingham, will compare stem cells from people with a progressive form of MS to those without the condition with the aim of finding effective treatments.



PA

Suggested Topics
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before