Scientists Getting Closer To Cell Therapy For MS

shutterstock_182517428Multiple sclerosis is a disease that currently has no cure. Potential treatments to help manage the disease include stem cell therapy to replace or repair damaged cells. But so far, scientists find it a challenge to produce enough stem cells for treatment in order to help reverse the effects of MS. A recent study shows that scientists are inching their way towards developing a feasible means of stem cell therapy.

Researchers from The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute, have generated induced pluripotent stem cell lines developed from skin samples of patients afflicted with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Not only that the NYSCF scientists have also developed an accelerated method of inducing the said stem cells into becoming oligodendrocytes, which are the myelin forming cells of the central nervous system.

Current protocols for producing oligodendrocytes can take almost 6 months to produce. This limits the capacity for scientists to conduct their research at a faster rate. But because of the new protocol developed, scientists may now be able to produce the said cells in half the previous time. This will help scientists conduct more studies that utilize the cells in research.

Stem cell lines and oligodendrocytes allow researchers to observe how diseases such as MS develop and progress at the cellular level. The improved protocol in generating these cells can serve as a platform for drug screening, disease modeling and developing cell replacement therapy for MS.

According to Dr. Valentina Fossati, a NYSCF-Helmsley Investigator and senior author of the said study, “We believe that this protocol will help the MS field and the larger scientific community to better understand human oligodendrocyte biology and the process of myelination. This is the first step towards very exciting studies: the ability to generate human oligodendrocytes in large amounts will serve as an unprecedented tool for developing remyelinating strategies and the study of patient-specific cells may shed light on intrinsic pathogenic mechanisms that lead to progressive MS.”

Source: New York Stem Cell Foundation. (2014, July 24). Cell therapy for multiple sclerosis patients: Closer than ever?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from

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