Human Exceptionalism

New Human Trial With Adult Stem Cells to Treat MS in the UK

The media will continue to squawk about how embryonic stem cells may years from now treat MS, but adult stem cells are already moving forward into human trials in the UK. (As I previously reported, adult stem cells have stopped MS from worsening in a Canadian human trial.) From the Telegraph story:

Neil Scolding, professor of clinical neurosciences for North Bristol NHS Trust, who is leading the trial, said: “We believe that bone marrow cells have the capability to repair precisely the type of damage that we see in the brain and spinal cord in MS.So by giving patients very large numbers of their own bone marrow cells we hope that this will help stabilise the disease and bring about some repair.”

The trial, which started six months ago, is one of the first to use patients’ own bone marrow stem cells to treat their MS. It involves six people with MS, aged between 30 and 60, having a pint of bone marrow extracted from their pelvises. The processed material, containing stem cells, is then injected on the same day into the patients’ arms.

Over a period of months, the patients will be monitored closely and given regular brain scans to see what impact the treatment has had on them.

This is very exciting. If it works–admittedly a big if–a lot of people are going to receive a lot of benefit.