(ORDO NEWS) — A group of scientists and doctors from Italy has conducted the first phase of a clinical trial of a new treatment for progressive multiple sclerosis.
Therapy using stem cells derived from aborted human fetuses has been shown to be effective in reducing the rate of gray matter loss in patients’ brains without any noticeable side effects.
Multiple sclerosis (also known as multiple sclerosis) is a chronic neurodegenerative autoimmune disease that, contrary to the common colloquial term “sclerosis”, is not associated with memory impairment in older people.
Instead, patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis may experience decreased sensation and mobility in limbs and other parts of the body, weakness, spasm, muscle numbness, decreased vision or hearing.
The disease develops due to multiple damage to the sheath of neurons of the central nervous system (CNS) by a person’s own immune cells.
Subsequently, in place of a special myelin sheath of neurons, scar connective tissue is formed, which disrupts or completely blocks the conduction of a nerve impulse.
Symptoms of the disease will directly depend on which part of the central nervous system is affected – the brain or spinal cord, optic nerve or cerebellum.
To treat the symptoms of the disease, researchers have developed many treatments, but there is still no effective drug aimed at combating the source of the disease.
A new approach to the treatment of multiple sclerosis was proposed by scientists from Italy.
The essence of the new method is that patients diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis underwent transplantation of neural progenitor stem cells, which scientists obtained from a 10-12-week-old aborted human fetus (that is, a fetus donated by a woman who decided to have an abortion).
The clinical trial involved a single injection of stem cells into the spinal canal of 12 patients. Prior to the injection, all participants experienced severe symptoms of sclerosis without any alternative approved therapy.
Three months after the injection procedure, a sample of cerebrospinal fluid was taken from patients to measure the levels of neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory molecules, markers of multiple sclerosis.
They turned out to be higher than before the treatment, which means that the therapy clearly benefited the patients.
Also, judging by the results of MRI, a positive effect was observed almost two years after transplantation: people who received the highest dose of stem cells lost the least amount of gray matter.
Despite the positive effect of the treatment, the researchers note that their results are only preliminary and based on a small cohort of patients.
The test subjects will still be followed up in the coming years to see the long-term effect of the injection.
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