MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Stem Cells, Home Infusions, Hippocampus

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by Ed Tobias |

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FDA Greenlights Stem Cells Trial Aiming to Improve Quality of Life

I’m pleased every time I see stem cell research being approved. Hopefully, this will move us closer to approval in the U.S. for the use of stem cells as a treatment for MS. In this research, patients are being given six infusions, each with about 200 million mesenchymal stem cells taken from the patients’ fat tissue. Unlike other stem cell procedures, however, this one doesn’t involve suppressing the immune system, which presumably lessens its risk.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the green light to a Phase 2 clinical trial that will assess the efficacy of using adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate multiple sclerosis (MS).

The nonprofit Hope Biosciences Stem Cell Research Foundation (HBSCRF), which received the FDA authorization, believes such stem cell treatments may work to improve the quality of life of people with the neurodegenerative disease.

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At-home Tysabri Infusions Appear as Safe, Effective as Those at Clinics

In this study, a small number of MS patients receive three infusions at their regular infusion center and three in their homes. Unsurprisingly to me, these patients reported feeling more satisfied with the convenience of at-home infusions, plus the in-home infusions were less expensive. The patients kept to their treatment schedule at both locations, and no serious problems were reported.

I was treated with Tysabri for seven years, and I would have preferred to have received my infusions at home. On the other hand, I felt a great sense of security having them done in a medical facility (at my neurologist’s office) because several medical professionals were right there in case of a serious problem with my infusion.

Tysabri (natalizumab) infusions given in the home to people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) save money and are more convenient, while apparently as safe and effective as those given in clinical settings, a pilot study comparing the two delivery methods reported.

Nonetheless, its researchers recommended larger trials be conducted to verify these findings, particularly in managing side effects due to drug hypersensitivity while at home.

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Gray Matter in Hippocampus Can Help Distinguish Between Two MS Types

Relapsing MS tends to be characterized by nerve inflammation. Progressive MS, on the other hand, is usually characterized by nerve death and damage. An early determination of which is occurring might allow a neurologist to select an appropriate treatment earlier in course of the disease. These researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to see if they could find differences in the brain’s gray matter that would indicate which disease course was being followed in these patients.

Subtle changes in structure in the hippocampus — a region of the brain involved in processing memories — can differentiate between relapsing-remitting and primary progressive multiple sclerosis, according to a new study.

The study, “Unraveling the MRI-Based Microstructural Signatures Behind Primary Progressive and Relapsing–Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Phenotypes,” was published in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Leanne Broughton avatar

Leanne Broughton

Hopefully the stem cell trial will be completed in time for me, with moderate disability, before progression to the next level. I'm in Canada which adds another hoop to jump.

Getty Bailey avatar

Getty Bailey

Mild to moderate multiple sclerosis. So once again stem cell will be used on people with less disability. When are the paralyzed people going to get some love/stem cells.

Joan avatar


I listened to your podcast about Lemtrada. I am 72 and have had MS about 15 years-diagnosed 12 years ago. You said you received some symptom relief from Lemtrada and wonder if it really made a difference for you? Are you now walking more easily? Or did you have other issues that it helped relieve? I have significant, progressively worse walking difficulty that has been slow but now is very concerning.

M.C. Lamb avatar

M.C. Lamb

I echo Getty Bailey's comment. Is there any research being done to treat secondary progressive m.s.? Can secondary progressive patients be included in studies, or are we already part of trials? Stem cells seem our best hope.

Judy Crutchfield avatar

Judy Crutchfield

Yes, when is stem cell or more treatment other than Ocrevus going to be used or available for more progressive forms if MS. How many drugs are there for RRMM MS? Secondary? PPMS?
A vaccine is created in record time for a virus that could kill anyone, doctors, nurses, Presidents, and ordinary people. It was a priority to stop it. Wouldn’t it to great if we worked that quick for cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s, etc.
I hate being a conspiracy theorist, but it sometimes makes me go there…MONEY.

Mallory Mangov avatar

Mallory Mangov

Hello, I have RRMS. Diagnosed in 2013 when I was 22. Wondering how I get on the list to get steam cells?

Thank you,

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Mallory,

I don't know how you would apply. All of the information that's available was in the article to which my post links.



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