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Multiple Sclerosis Patients' Own Stem Cells Might Reverse Early Stage MS, plus more MS news

roadskater's picture

I found some Multiple Sclerosis news in the right sidebar worth noting.

First is a finding that researchers in a small study...

...appear to have reversed the neurological dysfunction of early-stage multiple sclerosis patients by transplanting their own immune stem cells into their bodies and thereby "resetting" their immune systems.

The treatment is of course rather dramatic...

In the procedure, Burt and colleagues treated patients with chemotherapy to destroy their immune system. They then injected the patients with their own immune stem cells, obtained from the patients' blood before the chemotherapy, to create a new immune system. The procedure is called autologous non-myeloablative haematopoietic stem-cell transplantion.

We skate and ride to raise money with Multiple Sclerosis, but not all of us really understand it or relate to it personally. This is a pretty short description that makes it clear how bad it is.

"In MS the immune system is attacking your brain," Burt said. "After the procedure, it doesn't do that anymore."

As a reminder, some of the symptons include...

...visual problems, fatigue, sensory changes, weakness or paralysis of limbs, tremors, lack of coordination, poor balance, bladder or bowel changes and psychological changes.


There's a lot more testing (especially a random double-blind study one would think), but this is exciting news to inspire us to help raise money to find treatments and cures, in addition to helping with the daily lives and needs of people with MS.


Another study of interest involved people who had MRI brain scans for migraines, head trauma (wear your helmet!) and for whatever other reasons, whereupon doctors found evidence of Multiple Sclerosis in spite of the patient not having any sympoms yet. It turns out that a third of those ended up having symptoms within five years. 

Okuda and his colleagues are calling the condition the radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS).

This was a VERY small sample it seems to me, but interesting information. It's interesting to know that a brain MRI can perhaps give an early warning, but one other science editor stressed that you don't have MS until you have symptoms...

"Patients must have symptoms to receive a diagnosis. This study sets the stage for establishing a process for evaluating these patients and following them to help determine the risk of developing MS. Until then, we should not tell them that they have MS or treat them with disease-modifying therapies. For now, it's best to remember the wise advice that we 'treat the patient, not the MRI scan.'"


I feel really happy to hear that there does seem to be good research going on and steady if small progress in our knowledge of Multiple Sclerosis. 


The last item is a device and this is from a television report, so there's video available. The device, called a Bioness, at least in some cases helps people with MS regain some movement and control over their muscles.

"The first day I had it on, I was all smiles because I was able to lift my foot," the MS patient said.

The wireless device stimulates the muscles for movement, communicating with a sensor she places in her shoe, which detects "how she's walking, how fast she's walking, the terrain," according to the therapist working with the patient in the interview.

This video is worth a look I think. This thing costs less than some of those bikes that pass us at the Tour to Tanglewood!

The Bioness device Beth uses costs $6200, but is sometimes covered by insurance. The company also offers a rental program for patients. Bioness also has a device for hand rehabilitation.


How cool would it be to be able to get some of these here to loan out to people with MS? 


MikeB's picture

autologous non-myeloablative haematopoietic stem-cell transplant

ANMHSCT for short? This sounds like an amazing procedure with a legitimate chance at results. It is tricky though and has its own inherent risks. One danger area is the patient's immune system down time. The time when healthy white blood cells are removed and cultured while the patient then undergoes chemotherapy in an effort to 'wipe the slate clean' and start over with a new & more robust immune system. During this down time (which has various time lengths) a patient can have a very difficult time fighting off the weakest of common colds. Left to run amok a virus could turn into pneumonia; physically weaken the patient which can delay chemotherapy treatments and in essence leave the patient in no-immune system no-man's land; and even allow for organ damage or worse: organ failure which cascades into multiple organ failure and death. There is also the prospect of a circulatory system disorder which can remove the red blood cells ability to clot effectively, creating hemophiliac type symptoms. Trust me, I know. At the time this was a very radical oncology protocol, and how I lost my Mom 13 and a half years ago. The closer researchers get to better understanding and implementing this protocol, the better life will be for so many people. God bless.
roadskater's picture


MikeB thanks for sharing your loss. Tell us more about your Mom if you would like. We'd love to hear about her. Thanks for contributing to this discussion from your experience. It means more to us now because of that detail. This effort to solve Multiple Sclerosis is a long one but it does seem we are learning as research continues. Thanks again, and our condolences. And thank goodness for sunshine and skating.
roadskater's picture

Vitamin D in Early Life May Protect Against Multiple Sclerosis

Here's a brief note about some research that seems to indicate that Vitamin D in early life can reduce the chance of getting Multiple Sclerosis.One interesting paragraph...

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is more common in parts of the world far from the equator, where the sun wanes during winter. During that seasonal sunshine shortfall, it's harder for the body to make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

Check out the rest at WebMD...

Vitamin D May Cut Multiple Sclerosis Risk -


Vitamin D May Cut Multiple Sclerosis Risk
WebMD - Feb 6, 2009
6, 2009 -- Getting enough vitamin D early in life may cut the odds of developing multiple sclerosis, researchers report. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is more ...
Vitamin D Could Help Prevent Multiple Sclerosis TriCities.com
Vitamin D Deficiency May Increase Multiple Sclerosis Risk Health.com
Vitamin D reduces risk of multiple sclerosis Scotsman
EfluxMedia News - Science News
all 154 news articles
[Multiple Sclerosis]

roadskater's picture

College student's MS said cured by adult stem cell treatment

This article includes and interview from a student who has been symptom free for three years after being treated with stem cells taken from his own bone marrow... http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09022407.html

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