Stem cell transplants may help reset the immune system in severe cases of multiple sclerosis, according to a new study published in Neurology.
Patients who had disease progression despite administration of first-line treatments benefited more from stem cell transplants than mitoxantrone.
Twenty-one patients were included in the study. All were an average age of 36 and were at an average disability level at which point they used a cane or crutch to walk. At the start of the study, all patients received medication to suppress immune system activity. Twelve patients received mitoxantrone, and nine patients had stem cells harvested from their bone marrow. Following immune system suppression, stem cells were reintroduced to the body through a vein, where the cells eventually migrated to the bone marrow to produce new immune cells. Follow-up period was up to four years.
Disease activity was significantly reduced in the stem cell group compared to the mitoxantrone group. The stem cell group also had 80% fewer new areas of T2 lesions compared to controls, with an average of 2.5 new T2 lesions in the stem cell group compared to eight in the controls. The stem cell group also had no new gadolinium-enhancing lesions, while 56% of the mitoxantrone group had at least one new lesion.
Researchers recommend that larger studies need to be conducted to confirm the superiority of stem cell treatment over approved therapies for people unresponsive to traditional MS treatments.
Stem cell transplants may be more effective than the drug mitoxantrone for people with severe cases of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new study published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study involved 21 people whose disability due to MS had increased during the previous year even though they were taking conventional medications (also known as first-line treatments). The participants, who were an average age of 36, were at an average disability level where a cane or crutch was needed to walk.