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Stem Cells May Move to the Front Line against Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS), a potentially disabling disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath of nerve cells, currently lacks a cure. The available treatments are designed to speed the recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease, and manage symptoms. Emerging therapies include stem cell transplantation, which can “reboot” the immune system so that it no longer attacks myelin or causes inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. Stem cell transplantation is so promising that many clinicians advocate using it more liberally, at least for people with very severe MS.

There is a huge unmet medical need in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), with many neurologists believing that without effective therapies, most patients will never be able to come off disease modifying treatments (DMTs), according to Dame Pamela Shaw, MD, professor of neurology at the University of Sheffield and director of the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN).

Shaw emphasized this point when she spoke at the Third International Symposium on Stem Cell Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis, an event that was held at SITraN on January 20, 2023. Shaw added, “Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) is transformational for some MS patients, but we need to promote research to show arch skeptics that these types of cell therapy are safe and actually represent good value for money.”

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