Individuals with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis have shown encouraging response to a treatment involving the transplantation of a particular form of stem cell. The treatment led to an improvement in their neurological disability, quality of life, and cognitive function.
The study involved giving patients an intravenous infusion of their own (autologous) stem cells harvested from their own peripheral blood or bone marrow with the objective of resetting the functioning of their immune systems. This approach is known as hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).
Conducted by Richard Burt, MD, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and his colleagues, the study involved 123 individuals with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and 28 with secondary progressive MS who had been treated with HSCT between 2003 and 2014.
Their findings were as follows: On the score of Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), 50% of the patients tested at 24 months and 64% tested at 48 months showed significant improvement. The authors said that “this is the first report of significant and sustained improvement in the EDSS score following any treatment for MS.”