April 3, 2018 – Stem Cells and MS


Anchor lead: Are stem cells of benefit in people with MS? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Using both stem cells and chemotherapy in people with multiple sclerosis kept the majority from having a relapse for one year, and from failing therapy for three years, a study reported at a scientific meeting in Europe found. Peter Calabresi, an MS expert at Johns Hopkins, says more data is needed.

Calabresi: If you give potent chemotherapy and ablate the immune system the patient’s relapses and inflammation as seen on the MRI will be quiet for two to four years. High doses of chemotherapy really shut down the autoimmune response and so the problem is some people are saying that this is all the stem cells and that this is a cure for the disease, and the most recent paper was just a one year interim analysis and so I think it’s very premature to know whether the stem cells are doing anything and they really need to have a proper control.  :30

Calabresi notes that researchers are working hard to track stem cells and see if they really reach their target tissues and have an impact, so for now, the strategy can’t be recommended. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.