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
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Life and Style
food + drink
Voices
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
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

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas