Stem Cells From Fat Tissue Offer Promising MS Treatment

A team of researchers conducted a small preliminary study to demonstrate the possibility of using stem cells obtained from fat tissue in treating auto immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Findings so far show promising results with the three case studies described in the Journal of Translational Medicine of BioMed Central. Results may further require the support of clinical evaluation into stromal vascular fraction or SVF cells in multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

Thomas Ichim of Medistem Inc. and Dr. Boris Minev from the University of California in San Diego Division of Neurosurgery worked with a team of researchers to try and show how effective stromal vascular fraction cells can be used in treating MS. The researchers believe that SVF cells as well as other stem cells may be able to effectively treat MS by limiting immune system reaction as well as promote myelin growth.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s own immune system starts to attack the fatty myelin sheath, considered as the protective covering of the nerve fibers in the nervous system that send electric signals from the brain to other parts of the body. A thinning myelin sheath can cause this insulation to weaken and therefore bring about a number of symptoms due to the electrical signals beginning to short circuit.

"None of the presently available MS treatments selectively inhibit the immune attack against the nervous system, nor do they stimulate regeneration of previously damaged tissue. We’ve shown that SVF cells may fill this therapeutic gap", says Dr. Minev.

The researchers worked with three patients with MS that has suffered from varying symptoms over the years prior to the study. One patient has suffered from painful seizures frequently due to their condition for the past three years. Another one suffered from balance and coordination problems similar to what the third patient has been experiencing after being diagnosed with MS in 1993.

The team began to apply SVF therapy to the three participants. The three patients began to show considerable improvement during the course of the said therapy. The reported seizures of the first patient completely stopped with a reduced muscle spasticity in the arms and legs. The two other patients experienced dramatic improvements in their sense of balance and coordination as well as improved energy levels and mood.

Although the said study is still too small to yield any significant conclusion in terms of therapeutic efficacy, the promising results provided by the three test cases is good enough to support further investigation into this area for possible MS treatment in the future. The said SVF therapy is said to help suppress immune reaction towards the nervous system and also help promote new myelin growth.

Source: BioMed Central. "Stem Cells From Fat Tissue Offer Hope For MS Treatment." ScienceDaily 26 April 2009. 28 April 2009 .

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