MS News Notes: Stem Cell Therapy, EBV Vaccine, Diabetes, Diets

Columnist Ed Tobias comments on the week's top MS news

Ed Tobias avatar

by Ed Tobias |

Share this article:

Share article via email
banner for

Welcome to “MS News Notes,” where I comment on multiple sclerosis (MS) news stories that caught my eye last week. Here’s a look at what’s happening:

Understanding stem cell therapy

Researchers in Zurich wanted to understand what happens to the immune system of a person with MS undergoing a stem cell transplant, so they conducted a study on T-cells, a type of immune cell that drives inflammation in MS.

In the MS News Today article “How Stem Cell Transplant Can ‘Reset’ Immune System in MS: Study,” study co-author Roland Martin, MD concludes that, “Adults have very little functioning tissue left in the thymus. But after a transplant, the organ appears to resume its function and ensures the creation of a completely new repertoire of T-cells, which evidently do not trigger MS or cause it to return.” The study goes into details about how this appears to occur.

T-cells are also one of the targets of the disease-modifying therapy Lemtrada (alemtuzumab), which destroys them with the hope that they will repopulate as normal T-cells. I believe Lemtrada has helped slow my MS progression and slightly ease some symptoms.

A 2020 study found stem cell transplants to be more effective than Lemtrada treatment.

Recommended Reading
main graphic for the column

The Catch-22 of Dealing With Medical Bureaucracy

Epstein-Barr virus vaccination

A lot has been written recently about the likely connection between the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and multiple sclerosis. The story “Human EBV Antibodies May Help Inform Vaccine Development” details how we’re moving closer to a day when we can vaccinate people against EBV. By doing that, we might also be able to vaccinate folks against MS.

Type 2 diabetes meds and MS risk

A few studies have suggested that people with type 2 diabetes might be more likely to develop MS, but the connection between the two diseases remains unclear. Researchers at the University of Arizona recently looked at whether the anti-hyperglycemic (A-HgM) medications used to control blood sugar levels might affect MS risk.

The story “Effect of Diabetes Medicines on MS Risk Varies by Age, Sex in US Study” reports that of patients diagnosed with diabetes before age 45, those taking A-HgM were about 78% less likely to develop MS in the subsequent year compared with those not taking those medications.

On the other hand, of patients diagnosed after 45, those on A-HgM had a 36% higher risk of developing MS than those not using that type of medication.

Diet and MS

The impact of various diets on MS has been debated for years. Though the National Multiple Sclerosis Society says evidence is limited that an effective MS diet exists, some people with MS swear that modifying their diet has had a positive effect on their health. The story “Dietary Changes Can Help Ease Fatigue, Improve Quality of Life” reports on a study that concluded changing one’s diet may help some things, but won’t slow MS progression.

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.


איריס פרסקי avatar

איריס פרסקי

i would like to know among the medication for MS which is the best of help in the MS in all aspects of life. there are so many medications but each one has something bad with them for the body of the patient. so what is left is to try each one and figure what is best? its impossible. My son RRP condition., he took the Vumerity for 2 years since he was diagnosed with MS. Now his blood count is low and the neuroimmunologist in the hospital requested him to stop taking the vumerity completely until next blood count to see if it goes down then they will try another medication. is it only an experiment? thats what my son thinks. that all it is as experiments on people. please reply on this matter.; thanx/ iris pruskiy

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hello Iris,

There are over 20 medications available to treat MS in the U.S. I don't know how many have been approved in Israel, which is where I think you are, but there are certainly many of them. Each has its own benefits and risks and choosing one should be a collaboration between the neurologist and the patient. There is some level of experimentation, if you want to call it that, because we're all different. What works well for one person with MS may not work well for another.

I wish you and your son the best,


איריס פרסקי avatar

איריס פרסקי

thanx so much for your reply. well, we will try and hope for the best in his condition.,
best wishes,
iris prusky


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.

Dancing Doodle

Did you know some of the news and columns on Multiple Sclerosis News Today are recorded and available for listening on SoundCloud? These audio news stories give our readers an alternative option for accessing information important for them.

Listen Here