A recently completed medical trial has determined that intravenous stem cell therapy in Multiple Sclerosis patients is safe. Whether the therapy is effective in treating the disease remains to be seen. MS, a degenerative neurological disease with no known cure, has many forms and current treatment options don’t work for many patients. The stem cell therapies used in these trials offer a beacon of hope to many afflicted with the illness.
The trial, which had backing from the North American Spine industry, used autologous mesenchymal stem cells taken from the patients’ bone marrow. 24 patients participated in the trial, which was led by Dr. Jeffrey Cohen of the Cleveland Clinic. According to Cohen, the primary purpose of this phase 1 trial was to ensure the treatment was safe and feasible. Cohen confirmed that “there were, in fact, very few if any side effects, and certainly no serious or severe adverse events.”
As for the effect of the stem cell treatment on the disease, there was no clear benefit or ultimate improvement to current levels of disability.