I have secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) and am delighted with any advance in treating that form of the disease.
This week, I am pleased that a clinical trial shows that fat-derived stem cells are a safe and feasible treatment for people with SPMS.
The study, Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AdMSC) for the treatment of secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis: A triple blinded, placebo controlled, randomized phase I/II safety and feasibility study, was published in the journal PLOS One.
This is encouraging because very few therapies have been developed for the secondary progressive type of MS but don’t get carried away. This trial was all about safety and feasibility. It did not seek to measure the effectiveness of fat-derived stem cells as a treatment.
Trials with animal models of MS have shown that stem cells can help repair the central nervous system. This means they could potentially some of the neurodegeneration that leads to SPMS.
It was thought that Adipose or fat–derived stem cells (AdMSCs) are beneficial because they can be acquired easily. It can be done via a minimally invasive procedure called a lipectomy, which is a surgical procedure to remove body fat.
Fat-derived stem cells harvested by lipectomy
Despite the theories, the use of AdMSCs had not been tested in patients with SPMS. That’s the reason that researchers set out to determine the safety and feasibility of treating SPMS patients with two different doses of AdMSCs in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial (NCT01056471).
Researchers reported that they first obtained the AdMSCs from consenting patients through a lipectomy.
Then, 30 of these patients randomly receive either a single infusion of placebo, low-dose AdMSCs (1×106cells/kg), or high-dose ADMSCs (4×106cells/kg), and were then followed for 12 months. In total, 11 patients were given placebo, 10 were given low-dose, and nine were given high-dose AdMSCs.
During the treatment, only one adverse event was observed in the AdMSC treatment group, and that was not considered to be related to the treatment. The one event was a patient developed a urinary infection but there were no other safety issues.
Researchers concluded: “Although the study was not powered to determine the efficacy, some hint of efficacy was observed by the use of MRI and evoked potentials.
“Larger studies would be needed to investigate the potential therapeutic benefit of the technique.”
I shall certainly be watching future developments with interest, particularly as I was not able to proceed with hematopotetic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.
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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor, so cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.