MS is the result of damage to myelin - the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system - which interferes with messages between the brain and the body. For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission while for others it has a progressive pattern. Symptoms range from loss of sight and mobility, fatigue, depression and cognitive problems. There is no cure and few effective treatments.
Ahead of the publication on Friday 30 January of a paper in The Lancet Neurology reporting the results of a trial involving stem cell transplantation in people with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), please find below a comment from the MS Society:
Dr Doug Brown, Research Manager at the MS Society, said: "These are very encouraging results and it's exciting to see that in this trial not only is progression of disability halted, but damage appears to be reversed.
"Stem cells are showing more and more potential in the treatment of MS and the challenge we now face is proving their effectiveness in trials involving large numbers of people."
Clarifications they wished to make:
- Trial also uses alemtuzumab, previously shown to halt and potentially reverse disability so positive results may not be solely from the use of stem cells
- Trial originators also confirmed larger study of more than 100 is set to take place
- This further trial will distinguish what effect the use of alemtuzumab has on the overall results
The MS Society (http://www.mssociety.org.uk) is the UK's largest charity dedicated to supporting everyone whose life is touched by MS, providing respite care, an award-winning freephone helpline (0808 800 8000), specialist MS nurses and funds around 50 vital MS research projects in the UK.
Multiple sclerosis is the most common disabling neurological disorder affecting young adults and an estimated 85,000 people in the UK have MS.