A group of British scientists have conducted the first ever trials of applying stem cell technology in treating patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.
The research team, led by Professor Neil Scolding of the University of Bristol and North Bristl NHS Trust, that the treatment has shown positive results.
"We believe that stem cells mobilized from the marrow to the blood are responsible and that they help improve disease in several ways," he said.
Previous studies have shown that stem cells are able to develop in other cell types, then travel through the bloodstream to the brain and have patched damaged areas.
The trial, which lasted for one year, is one of the first to use the patients’ own bone marrow stem cells to treat their MS. The bone marrow is filtered of bone and fat, leaving pure stem cells that are then injected back into the patients’ arms.
And because it utilizes bone marrow instead of human embryos, the study avoids the ethical controversy involving stem cell research.
The study shows that the patients suffered "no serious adverse effects" from the treatment, with a marked improvement in the effectiveness of damaged nerve cells. It shows that the damaged nerve pathways were able to carry electrical pulses more effectively after the trial.
Researchers now want to conduct a longer and more extensive study to see whether the treatment can be improved and provide consistent results.