Treatment with Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Safe with Sustained Benefits for MS, Trial Shows

Treatment with Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Safe with Sustained Benefits for MS, Trial Shows

Treatment with umbilical cord stem cells was found to be safe and leads to sustained improvements in disability and brain lesions of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, according to a clinical trial.

The study, “Clinical feasibility of umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of multiple sclerosis,” was published in the Journal of Translational Medicine.

Although current treatments for MS are able to reduce the frequency of flare-ups and slow disease progression, they are not able to repair the damage to nerve cells or the myelin sheath, the protective layer around nerve fibers.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are adult stem cells found in multiple tissues, such as umbilical cord, bone marrow, and fat. These cells are able to mature into bone, cartilage, muscle, and adipose tissue cells.

MSCs may inhibit immune-mediated alterations. In particular, MSCs derived from the umbilical cord have a high ability to grow and multiply, increase the production of growth factors, and possess superior therapeutic activity, compared with other MSCs.

Diverse clinical studies have shown that MSCs can safely treat certain immune and inflammatory conditions, including MS.

The research team had previously demonstrated that MSCs can also improve cognitive and motor function.

Recent results with placenta or umbilical cord MSCs showed few mild or moderate adverse events, as well improvements in patients’ level of disability.

Researchers at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama have now completed a one-year Phase 1/2 clinical study (NCT02034188) to test the effectiveness and safety of umbilical cord MSCs for the treatment of MS.

The trial included 20 MS patients with a mean age of 41 years, 60 percent of whom were women. Fifteen participants had relapsing-remitting MS, four had primary progressive MS, and one had secondary progressive MS. Patients’ disease duration was a mean of 7.7 years.

Participants received seven intravenous infusions of 20×106 umbilical cord MSCs over seven days. The treatment’s effectiveness was evaluated at the start, at one month, and at one year after treatment.

Assessments included evaluating brain lesions with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and disability based on the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), as well as validated MS tests for neurological function, hand function, mobility, and quality of life.

Patients did not report any serious adverse events. Most mild adverse events possibly related to treatment were headaches, which are common after MSC infusions, and fatigue, which is common in MS patients, the authors observed.

Improvements were most evident at one month after treatment, namely in the level of disability, nondominant hand function, and average walk time, as well as bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfunction. Patients also reported improved quality of life.

MRI scans at one year after treatment revealed inactive lesions in 15 of 18 evaluated patients. One patient showed almost complete elimination of lesions in the brain, which “is a particularly encouraging finding,” the researchers wrote.

At the one year point, improvements in disability levels were also still present, and could translate into improved ability to walk and work without assistance.

“The potential durable benefit of UCMSC [umbilical cord MSC] at 1 month, and sustained in some measures to 1 year, is in stark contrast to current MS drug therapies, which are required to be taken daily or weekly,” the researchers wrote.

The safety of the treatment is another advantage over available MS therapies, the team said.

They concluded that “treatment with UCMSC intravenous infusions for subjects with MS is safe, and potential therapeutic benefits should be further investigated.”

José is a science news writer with a PhD in Neuroscience from Universidade of Porto, in Portugal. He has studied Biochemistry also at Universidade do Porto and was a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine, in New York, and at The University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario. His work ranged from the association of central cardiovascular and pain control to the neurobiological basis of hypertension, and the molecular pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease.
José is a science news writer with a PhD in Neuroscience from Universidade of Porto, in Portugal. He has studied Biochemistry also at Universidade do Porto and was a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine, in New York, and at The University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario. His work ranged from the association of central cardiovascular and pain control to the neurobiological basis of hypertension, and the molecular pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease.
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  1. Annette Adam says:

    I would love to be considered for this research. I have secondary progressive and there is nothing out there for us

    • Maggie says: dear is where I found this one. I have Secondary also. It’s hard to treat SPMS because we need these treatments every six months to begin reversal. This one was for the safety. It was very safe. This trial used intravenously, we, SPMS, would be better of through intrathecally into our CSF. Good luch and be safe.

  2. spiro says:

    Unfortunately, most patients were RRMS, a population that we would expect would improve, stem cells or not. This study proves very little

    • Juel says:

      I know someone whos had that treatment 3 times, gone from part time wheelchair to walking 5 miles a day!

  3. Debra Louria says:

    Sign me up! I have RRMS with trigeminal neurolgia (TN). The TN especially forced me to retire early. I’m a teacher and would love to return to the classroom. Leading a normal life again would be lovely too!

    • Laura Janes says:

      Hi Dori, I have rrms and I received umbilical stem cell transfusions 2 months ago. The main headquarters is in Florida and the company is called stemedex. My contact caseworker is Bonnie. I am a Nurse Practitioner out of work for 16months and I received umbilical stem cells. I had the faith that God can work through all situations and I am totally healed. No more Falls with fractured ribs, I can button my own buttons, I have no more tremors so I can write and type,I can paint my own fingernails,put my pants on without falling down and so many other things. I am ready to go back to work!!!! Please googleSTEMEDIX IN FLORIDA. I will be praying for you. Laura Jane’s in Paris,Texas. My number is 903-900-8855.

      • Belinda Vasquez says:

        How much is the treatment? I know in Mexico it is about $3,000/treatment for umbilical stem cells. Two treatments will be needed about 6-8 months apart.

  4. Alison Adams says:

    I would love to be apart of this study. I have RRMS my mother also had MS. I tried this in Mexico but I’m pretty sure he just rubbed salsa on my legs. (Joking about the last part)

  5. Lydia Andino Demyan says:

    I have secondary progressive MS and I will like to be considered for a trial or more information about availability of this treatment

  6. Chas says:

    All of you this is done in Panama at the Stem Cell Institute. I went there and got them and am going back in April. I am progressive relapsing. Technically SPMS and I did notice improvements the first time. All of you that is interested you can get this done in Panama where it was first done

    • Nancy Powell says:


      How long have you had MS? I have had it for 26 yrs. (51) and I just found Dr. Riordan’s treatment but now I hear it may not help me cause I’ve had MS too long.

      • Jody says:

        My wife was diagnosed in 2000. She relies heavily on a walker. Has declined in last 3 years. We went to the Stem Cell Institute in October. 3 1/2 weeks after her treatment her bathroom issues (mostly sudden/emergency need to go throughout the day) pretty much disappeared. We can drive 3-4 hours now without having any stops. We will be going back for the 2nd treatment this Summer. Expensive, but I highly recommend.

    • Rosetta Liset says:

      I have a daughter with Nurological disorder Regressive Autism servers learning difficultey. How can you help can my daughter receive umbilical stem cell please let us know thank you

    • Jay Lenner says:

      Despite any false claims they might make, Stemedix, or any other clinic for that matter, is not using the same treatment protocol as Stem Cell Institute in Panama, the clinic that treated the patients in this study.

    • Mike says:

      How did you make out st Stemedix? Have you gotten better? I’ve released my medical information from my doctor to them. This is where I will be going. St. Petersburg right?

  7. Mick Miodrag says:

    It would be awesome to launch a study focused solely on those of us with Secondary Progressive MS, as it was pointed out earlier that there is currently nothing out there for us !!

  8. Stephen Lovatt says:

    These treatments are misrepresented shams! Preying upon the vulnerable and often desperately ill. I understand exactly what they are professing from reading the study data. I’m merely speaking from my on first hand experiences when I comment to try and add some real time to an often confusing subject. Stem cells have proven to show their promising ability in Orthopedic surgery due to ease of deliver to point of repair. Stem cells delivered intravenously or into the spinal canal have an inherent ability to migrate to inflammation if they are capable of gaining access in quantified numbers. If the areas of nearodegeneration have no inflammation at the time of infusion, you are left to sheer luck. Unless they are delivered via brain surgery or a pinpoint needle infusion you need a vehicle to deliver the stem cells.

  9. Joanne Gauthier-Wiebe says:

    For those in a legal state, consider cannabis, it allows me to be pain free and walk, among the many other symptoms it helps with. I parked my cane and am doing significantly better. I also tale 300mg of Biotin daily. This has helped bladder and bowels.

    • Jenny says:

      I lived in Colorado and never used it. I don’t have pain and have a Baclofen pump that takes care of spasticity. I have weakness and I don’t think cannabis helps with that. Your thoughts?

  10. Eric Weber says:

    TruStem Cell Therapy in Chicago is doing this. I had it done for my MS and I’ve seen noticeable improvements in walking, fatigue and pain. Highly recommend Dr. McDole and Dr. Rachel there.

    • Jay Lenner says:

      TruStem Cell or any other clinic is not using the same protocol or stem cells as the Stem Cell Institute in Panama. They don’t have access to our patent pending technology and it’s also not legal in the US despite what they might be telling patients.

  11. Alvn says:

    I was having RRMS for 17+ years with past episode of brain stem damage, paralysis from chest down, lost of vision of left eye etc.

    Today i am living my life as a health ambassador, inspiration speaker & successful entrepreneur after i found alternative treatment that helps with repair of myelin.

    I can be contacted via [email protected]

    • Mark Moton says:

      Hi Alvin, my wife has RRMS, diagnosed 2 years ago. I would love to know more about the alternative treatments that help repair myelin. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
      Thank you.

  12. Diane Tuppack says:

    I would like to be considered for any trial. I live in
    Australia and the latest statement from my Neurologist was that I have Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Recently had an MRI. Was diagnosed with MS in February 2009.

  13. Rene Dolan says:

    I am a 54 year old male and I have SPMS and I’m looking for a treatment for a better quality of life. I went from using a cane to a walker a now a wheel chair. I have a balance issue along with drop foot. I read everybody comments and I will try biotin 300mg a day, you encourage me to keep fighting, thank you all and God bless all!

  14. Misty Johnson says:

    I am a 59-year-old female. I was diagnosed with SPMS in 2010. Was in a wheelchair by 2013. I am now desperate to keep living at home.
    I am desperately trying to save up $23,000 for the Adult Stem cell treatment in Panama/Dr. Riordan. Would love to be part of a study!

  15. mark r moses says:

    I was actually chosen for this trial but it went on without me as the American neurologist I was seeing never bothered to order me the tests I told him and emailed him that I needed. He just kept trying to talk me into pharmaceuticals. Even after I told him twice to his face I wasn’t interested and would never take any “approved” medications. Eventually he relented but by then it was too late. He ought to have his medical license taken away because I sit here and suffer because of his non-action.

  16. Andrea says:

    Just FYI I had a procedure close to this and 3 weeks later was in the fetal position a year out still can not stand up which I could before…..spent a lot of money and was told worse case scenario it will do nothing. Wrong for me not being able to stand up, walk is worst case and of course they have no comment and have never heard of this happening.

  17. Jane says:

    I recently had a consultation at an Innovative Functional medicine clinic run by a chiropractor and a nurse practitioner that were talking about there center doing umbilical stem cell therapy. I have had ms for 7 years the was onset later in life. I was so excited at first but my family reminded me that I should be very cautious about the claims and the cost. Has anyone ever been to a clinic in the US that will do the IV for $10000.

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