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Stem cell therapy may hold key to MS treatment


A new study shows that after three years, an experimental stem cell treatment was effective for creating sustained remission of active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, and was linked to improvements in neurologic function. The treatment was shown to have few serious early complications or unexpected adverse events.

The study followed 24 patients who received high-dose immunosuppressive therapy (HDIT). Using a patient’s own cells, the researchers found that the overall rate of survival was 78.4 percent at three years. Progression-free survival was 90.9 percent and clinical relapse-free survival was 86.3 percent. Patients showed improvement in neurologic disability, quality of life, and functional scores. While researchers encountered hematological and gastrointestinal side effects, they were both expected and reversible.

Study authors note that while the results show a remission of MS in patients for up to three years, the stem cell treatment is seen as an option for patients in whom regular immunotherapy fails as HDIT therapies have been associated with significant risks.

The study was published online by JAMA Neurology.

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