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    You are here : Home » MS Research News » MS Stem Cell Research & Treatment

    MS Stem Cell Research & Treatment

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    Within this section, you can read about the latest in Stem Cell Research and Multiple Sclerosis.

    We have a permanent Stem Cell Research and Stem Cell Treatment thread on our All About MS Discussion Forum, which you can reach here where the latest Stem Cell news is discussed. 

    For the more in-depth articles on Stem Cell Research you may wish to consider subscribing to New Pathways Magazine, our bi-monthly publication.

    Further Information

    Researchers create 'endless supply' of myelin-forming cells

    Stem CellsIn a new study appearing this month in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers have unlocked the complex cellular mechanics that instruct specific brain cells to continue to divide. This discovery overcomes a significant technical hurdle to potential human stem cell therapies; ensuring that an abundant supply of cells is available to study and ultimately treat people with diseases.

    "One of the major factors that will determine the viability of stem cell therapies is access to a safe and reliable supply of cells," said University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) neurologist Steve Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study.

    "This study demonstrates that – in the case of certain populations of brain cells – we now understand the cell biology and the mechanisms necessary to control cell division and generate an almost endless supply of cells."

    The study focuses on cells called glial progenitor cells (GPCs) that are found in the white matter of the human brain. These stem cells give rise to two cells found in the central nervous system: oligodendrocytes, which produce myelin, the fatty tissue that insulates the connections between cells; and astrocytes, cells that are critical to the health and signaling function of oligodendrocytes as well as neurons. Damage to myelin lies at the root of a long list of diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and a family of deadly childhood diseases called pediatric leukodystrophies. The scientific community believes that regenerative medicine – in the form of cell transplantation – holds great promise for treating myelin disorders.

    Goldman and his colleagues, for example, have demonstrated in numerous animal model studies that transplanted GPCs can proliferate in the brain and repair damaged myelin. However, one of the barriers to moving forward with human treatments for myelin disease has been the difficulty of creating a plentiful supply of necessary cells, in this case GPCs. Scientists have been successful at getting these cells to divide and multiply in the lab, but only for limited periods of time, resulting in the generation of limited numbers of usable cells.

    "After a period of time, the cells stop dividing or, more typically, begin to specialize and form astrocytes which are not useful for myelin repair," said Goldman. "These cells could go either way but they essentially choose the wrong direction."

    Overcoming this problem required that Goldman's lab master the precise chemical symphony that occurs within stem cells, and which instructs them when to divide and multiply, and when to stop this process and become oligodendrocytes and astrocytes.

    One of the key players in cell division is a protein called beta-catenin. Beta-catenin is regulated by another protein in the cell called glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3B). GSK3B is responsible for altering beta-catenin by adding an additional phosphate molecule to its structure, essentially giving it a barcode that the cell then uses to sort the protein and send it off to be destroyed. During development, when cell division is necessary, this process is interrupted by another signal that blocks GSK3B. When this occurs, the beta-catenin protein is spared destruction and eventually makes its way to the cell's nucleus where it starts a chemical chain reaction that ultimately instructs the cell to divide.

    However, after a period of time this process slows and, instead of replicating, the cells begin to then commit to becoming one type or another.

    The challenge for scientists was to find another way to essentially trick these cells into continuing to divide, and to do so without risking the uncontrolled growth that could otherwise result in tumor formation.

    The new discovery hinges on a receptor called protein tyrosine phosphatase beta/zeta (PTPRZ1). Goldman and his team long suspected that PTPRZ1 played an important role in cell division; the receptor shows up prominently in molecular profiles of GPCs. After a six-year effort to discern the receptor's function, they found that it works in concert with GSK3B and helps "label" beta-catenin protein for either destruction or nuclear activity. The breakthrough was the identification of a molecule – called pleiotrophin – that essentially blocks the function of the PTPRZ1 receptor. They found that by regulating the levels of pleiotrophin, they were able to essentially "short circuit" PTPRZ1's normal influence on cell division, allowing the cells to continue dividing.

    While the experiments were performed on cells derived from human brain tissue, the authors contend that the same process could also be applied to GPCs derived from embryos or from "reprogrammed" skin cells. This would greatly expand the number of cells potentially derived from single patient samples, whether for transplantation back to those same individuals or for use in other patients.

    Source: Medical Xpress © Medical Xpress 2011-2012 (01/11/12)

    Stem cell therapies likely in the future for MS and other myelin disorders

    Stem CellsWhen the era of regenerative medicine dawned more than three decades ago, the potential to replenish populations of cells destroyed by disease was seen by many as the next medical revolution. However, what followed turned out not to be a sprint to the clinic, but rather a long tedious slog carried out in labs across the globe required to master the complexity of stem cells and then pair their capabilities and attributes with specific diseases.

    In a review article appearing in the journal Science, University of Rochester Medical Center scientists Steve Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., Maiken Nedergaard, Ph.D., and Martha Windrem, Ph.D., contend that researchers are now on the threshold of human application of stem cell therapies for a class of neurological diseases known as myelin disorders - a long list of diseases that include conditions such as multiple sclerosis, white matter stroke, cerebral palsy, certain dementias, and rare but fatal childhood disorders called pediatric leukodystrophies.

    "Stem cell biology has progressed in many ways over the last decade, and many potential opportunities for clinical translation have arisen," said Goldman. "In particular, for diseases of the central nervous system, which have proven difficult to treat because of the brain's great cellular complexity, we postulated that the simplest cell types might provide us the best opportunities for cell therapy."

    The common factor in myelin disorders is a cell called the oligodendrocyte. These cells arise, or are created, by another cell found in the central nervous system called the glial progenitor cell. Both oligodendrocytes and their "sister cells" - called astrocytes - share this same parent and serve critical support functions in the central nervous systems.

    Oligodendrocytes produce myelin, a fatty substance that insulates the fibrous connections between nerve cells that are responsible for transmitting signals throughout the body. When myelin-producing cells are lost or damaged in conditions such as multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, signals traveling between nerves are weakened or even lost. Astrocytes also play an essential role in the brain. Long overlooked and underappreciated, it is now understood that astrocytes are critical to the health and signaling function of oligodendrocytes as well as neurons.

    Glial progenitor cells and their offspring represent a promising target for stem cell therapies, because - unlike other cells in the central nervous system - they are relatively homogeneous and more readily manipulated and transplanted. In the case of oligodendrocytes, multiple animal studies have shown that, once transplanted, these cells will disperse and begin to repair or "remyelinate" damaged areas.

    "Glial cell dysfunction accounts for a broad spectrum of diseases, some of which - like the white matter degeneration of aging - are far more prevalent than we previously realized," said Goldman. "Yet glial progenitor cells are relatively easy to work with, especially since we don't have to worry about re-establishing precise point to point connections as we must with neurons. This gives us hope that we may begin to treat diseases of glia by direct transplantation of competent progenitor cells."

    Scientists have reached this point, according to the authors, because of a number of key advances. Better imaging technologies - namely advanced MRI scanners - now provide greater insight and clarity into the specific damage caused in the central nervous system by myelin disorders. These technologies also enable scientists to precisely follow the results of their work.

    Even more importantly, researchers have overcome numerous obstacles and made significant strides in their ability to manipulate and handle these cells. Goldman's lab in particular has been a pioneer in understanding the precise chemical signals necessary to coax stem cells into making glial progenitor cells, as well as those needed to "instruct" these cells to make oligodendrocytes or astrocytes. His lab has been able to produce these cells from a number of different sources - including "reprogramming" skin cells, a technology that has the advantage of genetically matching transplanted cells to the donor. They have also developed techniques to sort these cells based on unique identifying markers, a critical step that ensures the purity of the cells used in transplantation, lowering the risk for tumor formation.

    Nedergaard's lab has studied the integration of these cells into existing neural networks, and well as in imaging their structure and function in the adult nervous system. Together, the two labs have developed models of both human neural activity and disease based on animals transplanted with glial progenitor cells, which will enable human neural cells to be evaluated in the context of the live adult brain - as opposed to a test tube. This work has already opened new avenues in both modeling and potentially treating human glial disease.

    All of these advances, contend the authors, have accelerated research to the point where human studies for myelin disorders are close at hand. For instance, diseases such as multiple sclerosis, which benefit from a new generation of stabilizing anti-inflammatory drugs, may be an especially appealing target for progenitor-based cell therapies which could repair the now permanent and untreatable damage to the central nervous system that occurs in the disease. Similarly, the authors point to a number of the childhood diseases of white matter that now appear ripe for cell-based treatment.

    "We have developed a tremendous amount of information about these cells and how to produce them," said Goldman. "We understand the different cell populations, their genetic profiles, and how they behave in culture and in a variety of animal models. We also have better understanding of the disease target environments than ever before, and have the radiographic technologies to follow how patients do after transplantation. Moving into clinical trials for myelin disorders is really just a question of resources at this point."

    Source: Medical News Today © MediLexicon International Ltd 2004-2012 (29/10/12)

    Stem cell transplants may show promise for MS

    Stem CellsNew research suggests that stem cell transplants to treat certain brain and nervous system diseases such as multiple sclerosis may be moving closer to reality.

    One study found that experimental stem cell transplants are safe and possibly effective in children with a rare genetic brain disease. Another study in mice showed that these cells are capable of transforming into, and functioning as, the healthy cell type. The stem cells used in the two studies were developed by study sponsor StemCells, Inc.

    Both papers appear online in Science Translational Research.

    The work, while still in its infancy, may have far-reaching implications for the treatment of many more common diseases that affect the brain and nervous system.

    Researchers out of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), looked at the how neural stem cells behaved when transplanted into the brains of four young children with an early-onset, fatal form of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD).

    Can Stem Cell Transplants Help Treat MS?

    PMD is a very rare genetic disorder in which brain cells called oligodendrocytes can’t make myelin. Myelin is a fatty substance that insulates the nerve fibers of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves (central nervous system), and is essential for transmission of nerve signals so that the nervous system can function properly.

    In multiple sclerosis, the myelin surrounding the nerve is targeted and damaged by the body’s immune system.

    The new study found that the neural stem cell transplants were safe. What’s more, brain scans showed that the implanted cells seem to be doing what is expected of them -- i.e. making myelin.

    Researchers compared treated areas of participants' brains with untreated areas. "The study goes beyond safety and we see some effects in the transplanted region that are consistent with the appearance of myelin, at one year,” says study author David H. Rowitch, MD, PhD. “It is not definitive, but it is suggestive.” He is a professor of pediatrics and neurological surgery at UCSF, and is the chief of neonatology at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

    PMD is rare, but other diseases that affect the myelin, such as MS, are more common.

    So is it possible that these same stem cell transplants could also benefit these other diseases? Although the possibility exists, Rowitch is noncommittal at this point. “We don’t have data that this could work in MS or other diseases,” he says.

    With PMD, the cells that produce myelin are not doing their job. Other diseases involve multiple causes or pathways. If further research in treating PMD pans out, the next step will be to look at MS and other diseases that affect myelin, Rowitch says.

    Nancy L. Sicotte, MD, is the director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She says that MS may be more complicated to treat with stem cell therapy.

    “With MS, we would be trying to introduce stem cells into an inflamed nervous system,” she says. "To be effective, we have to stop the inflammation process, which we haven’t fully been able to do yet.”

    Still, “stem-cell based therapies hold a lot of promise and potential,” Sicotte says. “You always have to temper that with the fact that it takes time to bring a great idea in the lab to humans.”

    A Big Deal

    A related study by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University's (OHSU) Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland showed that banked brain stem cells can survive and make myelin in mice with symptoms of myelin loss. This work served as one of the building blocks for the study in children with PMD.

    This mouse study also gives scientists a glimpse into how these cells behave once they are transplanted, says researcher Stephen A. Back, MD, PhD. He is a clinician-scientist in the Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute at OHSU Doernbecher. “When implanted, they preferentially make myelin-forming cell.”

    This is a big deal.

    “Stem cells are capable of making new myelin in a brain showing deterioration, and that is very exciting,” he says. “We were surprised to see how well the new myelin was able to form in symptomatic animals.”

    The implications are far-reaching. For example, “if we show in a rare disorder like PMD that patients benefit from the transplants, then we will want to do newborn screening to pick up babies with the disorders and get them transplanted as soon as possible,” Back says. “The sooner you get to these kids, the better, [since] the disease can progress like gangbusters once it starts.”

    Source: WebMD ©2005-2012 WebMD, LLC. (11/10/12)

    Preclinical results suggest stem cell treatment could benefit MS patients

    Stem CellsAthersys, Inc. announced today it is presenting new research results at the Second Midwest Conference on Stem Cell Biology & Therapy at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, that highlight the potential for MultiStem®, its proprietary adult stem cell therapy, to treat multiple sclerosis (MS).

    The work conducted by Athersys scientists, in collaboration with Robert Miller, Ph.D. and other scientists from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and with the support of Fast Forward, a subsidiary of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, demonstrates the potential benefits of MultiStem therapy for treating MS. In standard preclinical models of MS, researchers observed that MultiStem administration results in sustained behavioral improvements, arrests the demyelination process that is central to the pathology of MS, and supports remyelination of affected axons.

    "MultiStem therapy has shown promise in treating multiple disease indications in the neurological and inflammatory and immune disease areas," said Robert Mays, Ph.D., Head of Neuroscience at Athersys. "Multiple sclerosis presents as a neurological disorder, but a central component underlying the disease is immune system dysfunction. The results of our latest preclinical studies confirm that the immunomodulatory and regenerative properties of MultiStem therapy could have relevance for treatment of this disease."

    In preclinical experiments, rodents were given either an intravenous injection of MultiStem cells or placebo after the onset of symptoms in an MS model. The rodents treated with MultiStem displayed sustained and statistically significant improvement in functional testing compared to placebo treated animals. This functional improvement correlated with a statistical decrease in demyelinated lesions in the nervous system of cell treated animals compared to placebo as well as increased remyelination in cell treated animals, and this result has been confirmed in a second animal model of MS, suggesting that MultiStem treatment may accelerate the process of axonal remyelination.

    "Long-term successful treatment of demyelinating diseases, such as MS, will likely require both the regulation of the immune system and the promotion of remyelination to protect axonal integrity," said Robert Miller, Ph.D., Vice President for Research and Technology Management at Case Western Reserve University. Miller also serves as Director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience at the university's School of Medicine. "I am pleased that the most recent studies suggest that MultiStem treatment influences both aspects of the disease, which means it has great potential as an attractive therapeutic option."

    In 2011, Athersys and Fast Forward, LLC, a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, announced an alliance to fund the development of MultiStem for the treatment of MS, including treatment of chronic progressive forms of the disease. Fast Forward committed up to $640,000 to fund the advancement of the program to the clinical development stage.

    About MS

    MS is a chronic, unpredictable neurological disease that affects the central nervous system. It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder, meaning the immune system incorrectly attacks healthy tissue. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. These problems may be permanent or may come and go. According to the National MS Society, at least 400,000 Americans have MS, and every hour someone is newly diagnosed. MS affects about 2.5 million people worldwide.

    About MultiStem

    MultiStem® cell therapy is a patented product that has shown the ability to promote tissue repair and healing in a variety of ways, such as through the production of multiple therapeutic factors produced in response to signals of inflammation and tissue damage. MultiStem has demonstrated therapeutic potential for the treatment of inflammatory and immune disorders, neurological conditions, and cardiovascular disease, as well as other areas, and represents a unique "off-the-shelf" stem cell product that can be manufactured in a scalable manner, may be stored for years in frozen form, and is administered without tissue matching or the need for immune suppression. The product is extensively characterized for safety, consistency and potency. Athersys has forged strategic partnerships with Pfizer Inc. to develop MultiStem for inflammatory bowel disease and with RTI Biologics, Inc. to develop cell therapy for use with a bone allograft product in the orthopedic market.

    About Athersys

    Athersys is a clinical stage biotechnology company engaged in the discovery and development of therapeutic product candidates designed to extend and enhance the quality of human life. The Company is developing its MultiStem® cell therapy product, a patented, adult-derived "off-the-shelf" stem cell product platform for disease indications in the cardiovascular, neurological, inflammatory and immune disease areas. The Company currently has several clinical stage programs involving MultiStem, including for treating inflammatory bowel disease, ischemic stroke, damage caused by myocardial infarction, and for the prevention of graft versus host disease. Athersys has also developed a diverse portfolio that includes other technologies and product development opportunities, and has forged strategic partnerships and collaborations with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as world-renowned research institutions in the United States and Europe to further develop its platform and products

    About Fast Forward, LLC

    Fast Forward, LLC is a nonprofit organization established by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in order to accelerate the development of treatments for MS. Fast Forward accomplishes its mission by connecting university-based MS research with private-sector drug development and by funding small biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative new MS therapies and repurpose FDA-approved drugs as new treatments for MS.

    Source: Athersys, Inc. (05/10/12)

    Researchers find key to stem-cell therapy for MS patients

    Stem CellsOne of the most promising and exciting treatment avenues for multiple sclerosis is the use of a patient's own stem cells to try to stop -- or even repair -- some of the disease's brain tissue damage.

    But injecting a patient with a dose of his or her own bone-marrow stem cells was actually a pretty crude method of treating the disease, because no one was quite sure how or why it worked. Last year, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Case Western Reserve University began trying this for MS patients in a Phase 1 clinical trial after positive results were seen in mice.

    Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheaths that surround and protect nerve cells. When myelin is damaged, the nerve cells are exposed and unable to do their job, which is sending signals to the brain and back. This results in the loss of motor skills, coordination and cognitive abilities.

    Like many other researchers using stem cells, the local group didn't know exactly how their treatment worked, but they knew that when they gave these human mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, to mice with a mouse version of the disease, the mice got better.

    Figuring out why the mice improved could help researchers see if the MSC injection will work well in a particular patient before the patient is injected, and possibly augment or improve the treatment as well.

    In May, the research group at CWRU, headed up by neurosciences professor Robert Miller, discovered exactly what it is in the stem-cell soup that has a healing effect: a large molecule called hepatocyte growth factor, or HGF. The team published their results in Nature Neuroscience.

    Miller's group knew that it could be the stem cells themselves, by coming in physical contact with the myelin damage, that were having a healing effect. Or it could be something the stem cells secreted into the surrounding liquid culture, or media, they were grown in, that was key. HGF is secreted by the stem cells, Miller said.

    The team identified the HGF by first injecting only the liquid the stem cells were grown in, but not the stem cells themselves, into the mice they were studying. The mice got better, so the team knew whatever was helping was in the media.

    Next, they isolated the small, medium and large molecules from the media and tried each size on the mice. Only the large-molecule treatment had the healing effect, meaning that whatever was helping was somewhere in that mix, Miller said.

    "The molecule that jumped out at us was HGF," he said, because it is the right size, is made by MSCs, and in a couple of studies had been shown to be involved in myelin repair.

    So the scientists took a purified sample of HGF and injected it into the sick mice. They got better. When they blocked the receptor for HGF in the mice, they stayed sick. It was pretty compelling evidence that they'd found what they'd been looking for, Miller said.

    "We went on to show that HGF, like the MSCs, is regulating both the immune response, and it is independently promoting myelin repair in the brain," he said.

    MSCs, taken from the bone marrow, are currently being tested in more than 150 clinical trials in the United States and around the world to treat conditions such as osteoarthritis, diabetes, emphysema and stroke.

    The local Phase 1 trial has enrolled 16 of 24 total patients, and eight of them have completed the trial protocol, said Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, Cleveland Clinic neurologist and lead investigator of the trial.

    So far, the treatment seems to be working, Cohen said.

    "It's a little early to be saying it, but things have looked encouraging."

    And there have been no safety concerns and almost no side effects. There has also been no activation -- an aggravation or return of symptoms -- of this relapsing disease in the patients involved, which has happened unexpectedly with other types of MS treatments.

    Miller's discovery won't change the course of the trial currently under way at the Clinic and UH, but it may change the future of MSC treatment.

    While they don't know yet what the outcome of that trial will be, it's possible that if a patient doesn't respond to the treatment, it could mean that his stem cells aren't producing enough HGF to be effective at healing, Miller said. Miller will be studying MSC samples from all the patients in the trial to find out if those who are better at producing HGF fare better.

    He'll also be trying to see if they can predict how well a patient will do based on his HGF levels in the MSC sample.

    "Finally, though we're a long way from this, maybe we could augment the expression of HGF in patients whose stem cells aren't that effective to enhance their effectiveness," he said.

    But why not just inject the HGF alone? Miller said there are two reasons. First, the receptor for HGF in the cells, called c-MET, has been implicated in liver and breast cancer. Injecting HGF by itself into the body may stimulate the c-MET pathway, he said, and the research team is not willing to risk that.

    "The stem cells have the advantage that they tend to home to the area of insult, so they don't stick around in other parts of the body," he said. "They target the treatment where it's needed."

    Miller said his group is experimenting with a way of delivering HGF directly into the area of injury in the brain to minimize its contact with the rest of the body. HGF and c-MET are not associated with brain tumors.

    They are also trying to test small fragments of the growth factor as a treatment, to see if they can eliminate some of the cancer concerns.

    Cohen's group hopes to have results from the Phase 1 trial available in the spring and has already started planning a larger study based on those results.

    Source: North East Ohio © 2012 Cleveland Live LLC (05/09/12)

    The Myelin Repair Foundation achieves phase 1 myelin repair clinical trial

    Stem cellsThe Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) today announced the achievement of a myelin repair Phase 1 clinical trial for multiple sclerosis earlier than the foundation's goal set for 2014. By establishing its Accelerated Research Collaboration (ARC) Model to advance myelin repair treatments forward into clinical trial Phase 1 within a decade, the Myelin Repair Foundation achieved this critical milestone ahead of its goal, validating the efficiency of the ARC model to speed drug development.

    This Phase 1 clinical trial conducted at Cleveland Clinic will examine the efficacy of a new myelin repair therapeutic pathway with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), based on MRF supported research conducted by MRF Principal Investigator Dr. Robert Miller, Professor of Neurosciences and Vice President for Research & Technology Management at Case Western Reserve University. To date, half of the 24 patients planned for this initial trial have been enrolled.

    "Scientists hope that one day their research will reach clinical trials, and I'm thrilled to achieve this milestone in my career," said Dr. Robert Miller. "Without the support of Myelin Repair Foundation funding a critical component of our research that is the basis of this trial, this achievement would not have been possible. Our partnership with the Myelin Repair Foundation has helped identify new pathways to treat disease that reverses damage, ultimately accomplishing so much more than the suppression of MS symptoms."

    Funded by the Myelin Repair Foundation, Dr. Miller's team of scientists identified an innovative clinical pathway through mesenchymal stem cell signals that not only protect myelin, which is damaged by the autoimmune reaction in MS, but also facilitates myelin repair. Current MS drugs on the market only focus on the suppression of the immune system to protect myelin from future damage; patients have no treatment options available to repair myelin once damage occurs in MS.

    "Our goal to support research that would enter Phase 1 trials within a decade was deemed nearly impossible," said Scott Johnson, president and CEO of the Myelin Repair Foundation. "To think we achieved this ambitious goal even earlier than we planned illustrates the effectiveness of our innovative research model that accelerates promising scientific discoveries into clinical trials. Even with this success, we refuse to rest on our laurels and will continue to progress myelin research into multiple clinical trials. We remain focused on our singular goal: To speed the development of an effective myelin repair treatment to reach patients with multiple sclerosis."

    For more information about the clinical trial and enrollment, please visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ .

    About the Myelin Repair Foundation

    The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) is a Silicon Valley-based, non-profit research organization focused on accelerating the discovery and development of myelin repair therapeutics for multiple sclerosis. Its Accelerated Research Collaboration(TM) (ARC(TM)) model is designed to optimize the entire process of medical research, drug development and the delivery of patient treatments.

    Source: MarketWatch Copyright © 2012 MarketWatch, Inc (15/06/12

    Immunologist to create new line of neural stem cells for MS

    Stem CellsA UC Irvine immunologist will receive $4.8 million to create a new line of neural stem cells that can be used to treat multiple sclerosis.

    The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine awarded the grant Thursday, May 24, to Thomas Lane of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center at UCI to support early-stage translational research.

    CIRM's governing board gave 21 such grants worth $69 million to 11 institutions statewide. The funded projects are considered critical to the institute's mission of translating basic stem cell discoveries into clinical cures. They are expected to either result in candidate drugs or cell therapies or make significant strides toward such treatments, which can then be developed for submission to the Food & Drug Administration for clinical trial.

    Lane's grant brings total CIRM funding for UCI to $76.65 million.

    "I am delighted that CIRM has chosen to support our efforts to advance a novel stem cell-based therapy for multiple sclerosis," said Peter Donovan, director of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center.

    MS is a disease of the central nervous system caused by inflammation and loss of myelin, a fatty tissue that insulates and protects nerve cells. Current treatments are often unable to stop the progression of neurologic disability - most likely due to irreversible nerve destruction resulting from myelin deficiencies. The limited ability of the body to repair damaged nerve tissue highlights a critically important and unmet need for MS patients.

    In addressing this issue, Lane - who also directs UCI's Multiple Sclerosis Research Center - will target a stem cell treatment that will not only halt ongoing myelin loss but also encourage the growth of new myelin that can mend damaged nerves.

    "Our preliminary data are very promising and suggest that this goal is possible," said Lane, a Chancellor's Fellow and professor of molecular biology & biochemistry. "Research efforts will concentrate on refining techniques for production and rigorous quality control of transplantable cells generated from high-quality human pluripotent stem cell lines, leading to the development of the most therapeutically beneficial cell type for eventual use in patients with MS."

    The best estimates indicate that there are 400,000 people diagnosed with MS in the U.S., with nearly half - about 160,000 - living in California. The economic, social and medical costs associated with the disease are in the billions of dollars, placing a significant burden on the state's healthcare system.

    As an MS patient and research advocate, Nan Luke sees support for Lane's work as a positive step toward a regenerative therapy. The Irvine attorney was diagnosed with MS more than 20 years ago, and current treatments have slowed its progress but cannot undo damage to critical areas of her brain.

    "This new research gives me and others like me real hope that our nerve damage may be repaired and that we may regain lost function," said Luke, who serves on the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center's patient advocacy committee.

    Lane will collaborate with Australian MS researcher Claude Bernard at Monash University in Melbourne, who will help validate the cell line's effectiveness. Australia's National Health & Medical Research Council will provide a supplemental $1.8 million as part of CIRM's new collaborative funding program.

    Additionally, Jeanne Loring, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, will work with Lane to develop the neural stem cells to be used in the study.

    Source: NewsMedical.net (28/05/12)

    Growth factor in stem cells may spur recovery from multiple sclerosis

    Stem CellsA substance in human mesenchymal stem cells that promotes growth appears to spur restoration of nerves and their function in rodent models of multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have found.

    Their study appeared in the online version of Nature Neuroscience on Sunday, May 20.

    In animals injected with hepatocyte growth factor, inflammation declined and neural cells grew. Perhaps most important, the myelin sheath, which protects nerves and their ability to gather and send information, regrew, covering lesions caused by the disease.

    "The importance of this work is we think we've identified the driver of the recovery," said Robert H. Miller, professor of neurosciences at the School of Medicine and vice president for research at Case Western Reserve University.

    Miller, neurosciences instructor Lianhua Bai and biology professor Arnold I. Caplan, designed the study. They worked with Project Manager Anne DeChant, and research assistants Jordan Hecker, Janet Kranso and Anita Zaremba, from the School of Medicine; and Donald P. Lennon, a research assistant from the university's Skeletal Research Center.

    In MS, the immune system attacks myelin, risking injury to exposed nerves' intricate wiring. When damaged, nerve signals can be interrupted, causing loss of balance and coordination, cognitive ability and other functions. Over time, intermittent losses may become permanent.

    Miller and Caplan reported in 2009 that when they injected human mesenchymal stem cells into rodent models of MS, the animals recovered from the damage wrought by the disease. Based on their work, a clinical trial is underway in which MS patients are injected with their own stem cells.

    In this study, the researchers first wanted to test whether the presence of stem cells or something cells produce promotes recovery. They injected mice with the medium in which mesenchymal stem cells, culled from bone marrow, grew.

    All 11 animals, which have a version of MS, showed a rapid reduction in functional deficits.

    Analysis showed that the disease remained on course unless the molecules injected were of a certain size; that is, the molecular weight ranged between 50 and 100 kiloDaltons.

    Research by others and results of their own work indicated hepatocyte growth factor, which is secreted by mesenchymal stem cells, was a likely instigator.

    The scientists injected animals with 50 or 100 nanograms of the growth factor every other day for five days. The level of signaling molecules that promote inflammation decreased while the level of signaling molecules that counter inflammation increased. Neural cells grew and nerves laid bare by MS were rewrapped with myelin. The 100-nanogram injections appeared to provide slightly better recovery.

    To test the system further, researchers tied up cell-surface receptors, in this case cMet receptors that are known to work with the growth factor.

    When they jammed the receptors with a function-blocking cMet antibody, neither the mesenchymal stem cell medium nor the hepatocyte growth factor injections had any effect on the disease. In another test, injections of an anti-hepatocyte growth factor also blocked recovery.

    The researchers will continue their studies, to determine if they can screen mesenchymal stem cells for those that produce the higher amounts of hepatocyte growth factor needed for effective treatment. That could lead to a more precise cell therapy.

    "Could we now take away the mesenchymal stem cells and treat only with hepatocyte growth factor?" Miller asked. "We've shown we can do that in an animal but it's not clear if we can do that in a patient."

    They also plan to test whether other factors may be used to stimulate the cMet receptors and induce recovery.

    Source: Medical Xpress © Medical Xpress 2011-2012 (21/05/12)

    Potential new myelin repair treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

    Stemcells The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) today announced the results of a new peer-reviewed research study published in Nature Neuroscience that demonstrates functional improvement in immune response modulation and myelin repair with factors derived from mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) treatment in animal models of multiple sclerosis (MS).

    Funded by the Myelin Repair Foundation, this research conducted by Case Western Reserve University scientists showed positive results with human mesenchymal stem cells in animal models of MS by not only successfully blocking the autoimmune MS response, but also repairing myelin, demonstrating an innovative potential myelin repair treatment for MS.

    Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the immune system that attacks the myelin, causing exposed nerves or "lesions" which block brain signals, causing loss of motor skills, coordination and cognitive ability. Compared to the controls, this research study showed fewer and smaller lesions found on the nerves in the MSC treatment group. MSCs were found to block the formation of scar tissue by suppressing the autoimmune response, which would otherwise cause permanent damage to the nerves. Furthermore, the research showed that MSC treatment also repaired myelin, enhancing myelin regeneration of the damaged axon and the rewrapping of the myelin around the axon in animal models of MS. One treatment of MSCs provided long-term protection of the recurring disease.

    Led by Myelin Repair Foundation Principal Investigator and Vice President for Research & Technology Management at Case Western Reserve University's Dr. Robert Miller, this study documents a new promising pathway for treating multiple sclerosis that blocks the autoimmune response and reverses the myelin damage in animal models of MS. The human MSCs used in this study were culled from adult stem cells derived from the bone marrow.

    "We are thrilled with the publication of this important research study that examines a new pathway to treat multiple sclerosis, one that reverses the damage of the disease," said Dr. Robert Miller. "Since we were just beginning to understand how MSCs provide myelin repair for lesions, with the Myelin Repair Foundation's support, we continue to deepen our knowledge of exploring the next generation of MS treatments that stimulate healing, rather than symptom suppression of the disease."

    "We pride ourselves on supporting best-in-class scientists devoted to find new ways to treat multiple sclerosis, advancing highly innovative research projects that otherwise would not have moved forward," said Scott Johnson, president of the Myelin Repair Foundation. "The success of Case Western Reserve University's study and recognition in this prestigious journal furthers our goal to identify new pathways to treat multiple sclerosis by supporting a multi-disciplinary team of the best researchers in the field."

    About the Myelin Repair Foundation

    The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) is a Silicon Valley-based, non-profit research organization focused on accelerating the discovery and development of myelin repair therapeutics for multiple sclerosis. Its Accelerated Research Collaboration(TM) (ARC(TM)) model is designed to optimize the entire process of medical research, drug development and the delivery of patient treatments.

    Source: MarketWatch Copyright © 2012 MarketWatch, Inc (21/05/12)

    Stemcell hope for multiple sclerosis

    Stem CellsStemcell therapy for multiple sclerosis is now a reality, not just a dream, says a leading neuro-immunologist.

    Gianvito Martino, director of neuroscience at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy, said although the therapy was still experimental, it was yielding some exciting results.

    Professor Martino said he did not believe stemcell therapy would be the solution to MS but an important treatment option with fewer side effects.

    "To have the solution, we should know the cause of the disease but we don't know it," he said.

    About 85 per cent of patients had relapsing remitting MS, which could be managed with current treatments, he said. However, within 10-20 years, about 90 per cent of these patients moved into the secondary progressive phase, for which there were no effective treatments, while about 10 per cent continued to have the so-called benign first phase.

    "About 80-85 per cent of patients will need aid for walking in 20-25 years from diagnosis," he said.

    The average age of diagnosis is 20-40. In Australia, three times as many females are affected. In the autoimmune disease, the insulating sheath of the nerve cells, called myelin, is attacked and destroyed and eventually the nerves are also destroyed, leading to progressive atrophy of the brain and spinal cord, which is the cause of disability. In Australia, the incidence of MS is about one in every 1000 people, with more than 21,000 people affected.

    Professor Martino said there were two types of stemcells already being used in patients, both from blood. They were haematopoietic and mesenchymal stemcells.

    Haematopoietic stemcells were those used in bone-marrow transplantations. The patient's immune system was destroyed by chemotherapy and then their own stemcells from the bone marrow were transplanted.

    "The idea is to have new blood with no more cells capable of damaging your myelin," Professor Martino said.

    "It is immuno- suppressive therapy, blocking the cells causing the disease."

    About 500 MS patients worldwide had received the therapy since 1997 and in many, the progression of their disease had been halted.

    "The results are very, very important because about 60 per cent of those patients do not worsen for up to four to five years after the transplants, they stabilise," Professor Martino said.

    Even more exciting was the fact that only the patients with the worst prognosis and unresponsive to approved therapies had been eligible for the treatment, which was proving so successful.

    Among those patients, the ones better responding to the transplant were the 5 per cent with the so-called malignant form of MS, who needed a wheelchair within five years of diagnosis.

    The second type of transplant used mesenchymal cells, which are multi-potent stemcells taken from the blood and which can differentiate into a variety of cell types.

    "They seem to help the immune system to block the body's reaction against itself," Professor Martino said. "You can just inject them intravenously and you don't need immuno-suppression or any therapy to avoid rejection."

    While they seemed to block further damage from the disease, they did not repair nerve cells already damaged.

    Apart from blood stemcells, there is another form of stemcell therapy which his group is testing, using neural stemcells taken from a foetus and grown in vitro as precursors of brain cells, which are then transplanted via a lumbar puncture.

    "Those cells were not only able to become cells producing myelin once transplanted but they could also help cells resident within the brain, which were not damaged by the disease, to repair the brain," he said.

    The trials conducted by his group to date have been in mice and monkeys. "We hope to start treatment in patients . . . within the next five years," he said.

    He warned MS patients against going to the so-called stemcell clinics that were scattered worldwide, saying the therapy should be conducted only under rigorous clinical trial conditions.

    Source: 'The West Australian' (c) West Australian Newspapers Limited 2012 (05/04/12)

    Autologous mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of secondary progressive MS

    StemcellsAbstract

    BACKGROUND: More than half of patients with multiple sclerosis have progressive disease characterised by accumulating disability. The absence of treatments for progressive multiple sclerosis represents a major unmet clinical need. On the basis of evidence that mesenchymal stem cells have a beneficial effect in acute and chronic animal models of multiple sclerosis, we aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of these cells as a potential neuroprotective treatment for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

    METHODS: Patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis involving the visual pathways (expanded disability status score 5·5-6·5) were recruited from the East Anglia and north London regions of the UK. Participants received intravenous infusion of autologous bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in this open-label study. Our primary objective was to assess feasibility and safety; we compared adverse events from up to 20 months before treatment until up to 10 months after the infusion. As a secondary objective, we chose efficacy outcomes to assess the anterior visual pathway as a model of wider disease. Masked endpoint analyses was used for electrophysiological and selected imaging outcomes. We used piecewise linear mixed models to assess the change in gradients over time at the point of intervention. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00395200.

    FINDINGS: We isolated, expanded, characterised, and administered mesenchymal stem cells in ten patients. The mean dose was 1·6×10(6) cells per kg bodyweight (range 1·1-2·0). One patient developed a transient rash shortly after treatment; two patients had self-limiting bacterial infections 3-4 weeks after treatment. We did not identify any serious adverse events. We noted improvement after treatment in visual acuity (difference in monthly rates of change -0·02 logMAR units, 95% CI -0·03 to -0·01; p=0·003) and visual evoked response latency (-1·33 ms, -2·44 to -0·21; p=0·020), with an increase in optic nerve area (difference in monthly rates of change 0·13 mm(2), 0·04 to 0·22; p=0·006). We did not identify any significant effects on colour vision, visual fields, macular volume, retinal nerve fibre layer thickness, or optic nerve magnetisation transfer ratio.

    INTERPRETATION: Autologous mesenchymal stem cells were safely given to patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis in our study. The evidence of structural, functional, and physiological improvement after treatment in some visual endpoints is suggestive of neuroprotection.

    FUNDING: Medical Research Council, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Evelyn Trust, NHS National Institute for Health Research, Cambridge and UCLH Biomedical Research Centres, Wellcome Trust, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation, and Sir David and Isobel Walker Trust.

    Source: Lancet Neurol. 2012 Jan 9 Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd & Pubmed PMID 22236384 (18/01/12)

    Scientists grow neurons that integrate into brain

    Stem CellsAustralian researchers have developed the world's first stem cell model of multiple sclerosis, opening up new ways to study the disease and test treatments.

    The deputy director of Monash University's immunology and stem cell laboratory, Claude Bernard, said he and his colleagues had used skin cells from MS sufferers to create induced pluripotent stem cells that have the capacity to become brain cells targeted by the disease.

    This effectively creates a ''disease in a dish'' that can be replicated and studied by researchers who have previously had only blood cells, autopsy tissue and cerebrospinal fluid to work on. The cells also mean scientists can avoid using human embryos, overcoming ethical concerns.

    Professor Bernard said this would create a limitless supply of the cells for researchers to study the mechanisms of the disease and to test new drugs.

    ''Much research to date has relied on animal models that, while similar to MS, have been very different to the human disease, which has led to ineffective and even detrimental MS treatments,'' he said.

    MS is the most common chronic neurological disease in the world and affects about 21,000 Australians.

    Given there is no cure and treatments work for only about 30 per cent of sufferers, Professor Bernard said it was critical to continue the research. ''There are so many people suffering from this difficult disease and it costs Australia about $2 billion a year.''

    The findings were published in Stem Cell Research.

    Source: The Sydney Morning Herald Copyright © 2011 Fairfax Media (21/12/11)

    MS bone marrow stem cell trial to begin

    Stem CellsBritish doctors are to conduct a trial using bone marrow stem cells that they hope could halt or perhaps even reverse the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS).

    The Bristol University team wants to recruit 80 people for the research, after a pilot study in six people showed "tantalising" results.

    The technique involves harvesting bone marrow from the patient, filtering out the stem cells and then injecting them into the person's veins the same day.

    The theory is that the stem cells help repair damage caused to the protective coating of nerve cells, called myelin, which is the cause of MS.

    Results from the safety study, published last year in the journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, raised what researchers described as "the possibility of benefit".

    Professor Neil Scolding said at the time: "We are encouraged by the results of this early study.

    "The safety data are reassuring and the suggestion of benefit tantalising."

    However, the results showed no actual improvement in disease. Prof Scolding said a larger study was needed.

    The experimental approach is also controversial because some clinics outside Britain are charging thousands for it, before studies such as Prof Scolding's prove its effectiveness.

    Last year the MS Society said one such clinic, the XCell-Center in Germany, was "marketing unproven treatments".

    Now, following a £700,000 donation from an American charity, Bristol University and Frenchay Hospital hope to begin the clinical trial in February.

    About 100,000 people in Britain suffer from MS, in which nerve damage leads to symptoms including sight problems and difficulty walking.

    Prof Scolding said: "We are very excited by this as it will be the first trial of any repair therapy in MS, not only in the UK but anywhere."

    *Paper: Safety and feasibility of autologous bone marrow cellular therapy in relapsing-progressive multiple sclerosis, CM Rice, EA Mallam, AL Whone, P Walsh, DJ Brooks, N Kane, SR Butler, DI Marks and NJ Scolding, Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics advance online publication, 5 May 2010 (DOI 10.1038/sj.clpt. 12-09-0672.R2).

    Source: The Telegraph © Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2011 (05/12/11)

    Stem cell promise for multiple sclerosis

    Stem CellsNew research has found a way to replenish the fatty layer or myelin sheath around nerve cells1 — a finding that could yield a cure for neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

    Researchers have now understood how the right mix of biological growth factors coaxes human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to form oligodendrocytes, a type of nerve cells that form the myelin sheath.

    "We have been able to identify the proteins that are expressed during the differentiation of ESCs into oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, which in turn grow into oligodenrocytes," says Akhilesh Pandey, one of the researchers from the Institute of Bioinformatics, Bangalore and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, US. "We have also identified several proteins that aid the formation of myelin," he adds.

    Oligodendrocytes (OLs) are specialized cells that wrap tightly around axons to form the myelin sheath. The job of these support cells is to speed up the electrical signal that travels down an axon. Without oligodendrocytes an action potential would travel down an axon 30 times slower. Injury to OLs seems to initiate multiple sclerosis. Studies have also shown that OL injury has a role to play in schizophrenia.

    The best way to treat such disorders is to replace the worn-out OLs. To achieve this, studies have tried to grow OLs in lab. Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) have been grown from human ESCs in animals with spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis. Lab studies have discovered a number of growth factors, which promote OPC migration, survival and proliferation. Despite identifying factors that affect OPC proliferation and differentiation, researchers knew little about the factors that trigger myelin-forming OLs.

    To zero in on proteins specific to OL differentiation, the researchers grew human ESCs in a nutrient broth laced with various growth factors. They observed the proliferation and differentiation of ESCs into embryoid bodies, neural progenitor cells (NPCs), glial progenitor cells (GPCs) and OPCs which could finally grow into OLs and form myelin. At every stage of cell differentiation, the researchers harvested cells and identified stage-specific proteins using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry analysis.

    The study identified 3145 proteins at key stages of OL differentiation from human ESCs. Some of the vital proteins at the OPC stage were neural cell adhesion molecule 1 (NCAM1), APOE, tenascin C (TNC), vimentin (VIM), wingless-related MMTV integration site 5A (WNT5A), and heat shock 27 kDa protein 1.

    "Further exploration of these proteins within the OL lineage is likely to yield novel therapies for diagnosing and treating many OL-associated or demyelinating conditions," Pandey says.

    The study also found novel markers for NPCs and GPCs which would add to the repertoire of specific markers increasing specificity. The NPCs can differentiate in neural and glial cells. "The multiple markers will aid in selection of pure cells, which is currently a limiting factor", Pandey adds.

    There is no single specific marker for a stem cell. "The study affords a group of protein markers for the identification of a cell type. Such identification will provide valuable clues for future studies about the pathways involved in the transformation of the ESCs into progenitor cells," says Sumantra Das who studies neurobiochemistry and neuropharmacology at Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata.

    Though the study identifies molecular markers in a single shot, the question is how far the information is valuable since artificial progenitor cells generated may not be phenotypically similar to a primary progenitor cell isolated from the brain, Das says.

    "The study offers a comprehensive base line molecular data in normal embryonic stem cells and pluripotent neural, glial and oligodendroglial cells in a culture medium," says S. K. Shankar from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore. However, similar information in an animal system and isolation of cells at different lineages from intact organ are important for extrapolation, Shankar told Nature India.

    The authors of this study are from: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore and University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA; Amrita School of Biotechnology, Amrita Viswa Vidyapeetham, Kollam, Kerala and Manipal University, India; Thermo Fisher Scientific (Bremen) GmbH, Bremen, Germany.

    References
    Chaerkady, R. et al. Quantitative temporal proteomic analysis of human embryonic stem cell differentiation into oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. Proteomics. 11, 4007-4020 (2011)

    Source: Nature India © 2011 Nature Publishing Group (01/12/11)

    MSRCNY receives approval for groundbreaking stem cell trial in MS

    Stem CellsLandmark Study Targets Repair and Regeneration for MS Patients

    The Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York (MSRCNY) and the International Cellular Medicine Society (ICMS) jointly announced today the ICMS Institutional Review Board's (IRB) approval of the first study to use autologous brain-like or neural stem cells for multiple sclerosis.

    "We are entering a whole new world of possibilities for our patients" said Dr. Saud A. Sadiq, Neurologist and Director of the MSRCNY. "This initial stem cell treatment strategy opens up new avenues of treatment options focused on repair and regeneration that didn't exist before." Dr. Sadiq added, "We are delighted that the ICMS has approved our study and feel both the MSRCNY and the ICMS share the basic ideology of advancing safe and effective treatment in addressing patient needs."

    The landmark study investigates a regenerative strategy using mesenchymal stem cell-derived neural progenitor cells harvested from the patient's own bone marrow. These stem cells will be injected into the cerebral spinal fluid surrounding the spinal cord in 20 participants with a confirmed diagnosis of progressive MS. This will be an open label safety and tolerability study where all participants will be enrolled through the Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York (MSRCNY). All study activities will be conducted at the MSRCNY and affiliated International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice (IMSMP).

    Participants in the three year study will undergo a single bone marrow collection procedure, from which the neural progenitor cells will be isolated, expanded and tested prior to injection. Participants will undergo three rounds of injections at three month intervals. Safety and efficacy parameters will be evaluated in all participants through scheduled follow-up visits.

    MS is a chronic human autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that leads to myelin damage and neurodegeneration. Stem cell transplantation has long been regarded as a viable treatment option for patients with neurodegenerative disorders. The clinical application of autologous neural progenitors in MS is the culmination of almost a decade of basic research conducted at the MSRCNY, which has found that the injection of these cells may decrease inflammation in the CNS and promote myelin repair and/or neuroprotection.

    The ICMS IRB reviewed the treatment protocols, informed consents and the inclusion/exclusion criteria for the study at its November meeting. The IRB, comprised of medical doctors, researchers and non-scientific community members evaluated the therapeutic approach, the scientific foundation and the medical justification for the use of these cells in the treatment of MS. According to David Audley, Executive Director and CEO of the ICMS, "The main purpose of the IRB is to evaluate the safety of the therapy. After reviewing the study and all the supporting materials, we were convinced that the therapy was not going to put patients at undue risk, and that the treatment itself is the practice of medicine."

    ABOUT THE MSRCNY www.msrcny.org Founded in 2006 by Dr. Saud A. Sadiq, The Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York (MSRCNY) is a non-profit research organization solely focused on discovering the cause and cure for multiple sclerosis. MSRCNY helps people with MS by conducting cutting-edge, translational, patient based research to ensure unparalleled care for patients. The close relationship of the research center and the clinical practice (IMSMP) helps to test new treatments for MS and easily moves research discoveries into application to treat symptoms of MS and halt or reverse damage caused by the disease. Patients benefit from the research laboratory by investigation into the cause of MS, disease mechanisms and a devotion to the latest technology to improve MS treatment and care.

    ABOUT THE IMSMP www.imsmp.org The International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice (IMSMP) is the leader in MS healthcare. It has established a comprehensive level of care for individualized attention to patients' needs and well-being. As the clinical arm of the MSRCNY, the goal of IMSMP is to take bench research and apply it safely to the bedside with extraordinary service and compassion. As an international MS center, patients throughout the United States and from more than 40 countries on 5 continents rely on and visit the IMSMP for care.

    ABOUT THE ICMSThe ICMS is a physician guided international 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to patient safety and the protection of the practice of medicine and physician education through the production of global standards for the practice of cell based medicine. The society maintains two websites, www.cellmedicinesociety.org , focused on adult stem cell education and awareness for physicians and researchers and www.stemcellwatch.com , a portal for patient education and information about therapies provided at stem cells clinics around the world.

    Source: Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York Copyright (C) 2011 PR Newswire. (22/11/11)

    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre

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