Human stem cells successfully treat multiple sclerosis in mice

 

Science Editor

Human stem cells have been used successfully to treat multiple sclerosis in mice. The treated mice were able to walk and run around normally while untreated animals continued to be paralysed by the disease, scientists said.

The researchers believe the findings are promising enough to move to clinical trials on patients in the hope of developing effective treatments for this incurable and progressively debilitating disorder of the nervous system, which affects about 100,000 people in the UK.

The study involved injections of stem cells derived from human embryos, which were compared with stem cells from adult bone marrow, which are already being used in clinical trials for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The embryonic stem cells significantly outperformed the bone marrow stem cells, scientists said.

The research was led by Xiaofang Wang from ImStem Biotechnology, based in Farmington, Connecticut, who said it was a surprise that the stem cells derived from adult bone marrow performed so badly in comparison to the embryonic stem cells.

Multiple sclerosis is caused by the destruction of the outer fatty, myelin sheath that surrounds and insulates individual nerve cells. The injected stem cells appear to stop the damage and help to restore nerve function, the researchers said.

The stem cells used in the study, published in the journal Stem Cell Reports, belong to a class known as mesenchymal stem cells, which normally form the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.

“Although there is currently no cure for MS, we are excited about the unique anti-disease abilities of these cells and feel that they may be well suited for the clinical treatment of multiple sclerosis,” said Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer of the Advanced Cell Technology, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm who collaborated in the study.

“The cells not only reduced the clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis but prevented demyelination, which disrupts the ability of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in a wide range of symptoms in patients, including blurred vision, loss of balance, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, paralysis and blindness,” Dr Lanza said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower