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Cell transplant therapy shows improvement in MS disability


A new study suggests that a stem cell transplantation therapy helps improve disability in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. The same study also points to improvements in quality of life clinical outcomes for MS participants.

Since current therapies for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis do not result in significant reversal of disability, researchers set out to determine if there is a link between nonmyeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and neurological disability, and other clinical outcomes, in patients with MS. Researchers, led by Richard K. Burt, M.D., of the Division of Immunotherapy, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago, followed 123 patients with relapsing-remitting MS and 28 patients with secondary-progressive MS treated at a single US institution between 2003 and 2014 and followed up for 5 years.

Treatment showed significant improvement in disability in 41 patients at 2 years and in 23 patients at 4 years as measured by change in the Expanded Disability Status Scale. Four-year relapse-free survival was 80 percent and progression-free survival was 87 percent.

These preliminary findings from this uncontrolled study require confirmation in randomized trials. The findings were published in JAMA.

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