Human stem cells successfully treat multiple sclerosis in mice
Steve Connor is the Science Editor of The Independent. He has won many awards for his journalism, including five-times winner of the prestigious British science writers’ award; the David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union; twice commended as specialist journalist of the year in the UK Press Awards; UK health journalist of the year and a special merit award of the European School of Oncology for his investigative journalism. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Oxford and has a special interest in genetics and medical science, human evolution and origins, climate change and the environment.
Thursday 05 June 2014
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.
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 MH370: 'Putin ordered plane to be flown to Kazakhstan space port,' conspiracy theory claims
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin, says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...