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Sunday, November 3, 2013

How Stem Cell Research Could Help Cure MS Symptoms

By Dorothy Foltz-Gray, Special to Lifescript
Published November 03, 2013
Reviewed by Edward C. Geehr, M.D., Lifescript Chief Medical Officer

Adult stem cells, which the body uses for repair and maintenance, can be harvested from your own fat, bone marrow or other tissues.

They’re essentially blank slates, transforming into the cells of different tissues and organs. They also reproduce specialized cells, such as myelin, a fatty substance that coats nerves. With MS, the immune system attacks and destroys myelin.

Current multiple sclerosis treatment slows the immune system’s attack on nerves. But it doesn’t reverse MS symptoms, such as numbness, tremors and blindness, Dr. Burt says.

But stem cell treatment takes a different approach, for example, erasing an unhealthy immune system and rebuilding a healthy one, or creating new myelin to replace damaged nerve sheaths.

Because no stem cell therapies for MS have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yet, it may be several years before they’re publicly available, says Tim Coetzee, Ph.D., chief research officer for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Still, scientists are seeing promising results in clinical trials on people with MS, he says. Read on to find out how stem cell therapies are bringing new hope for the 2.1 million Americans coping with the incurable illness.

Continue Reading from the MSVN website


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