February 6, 2015 – MS Treatment


Anchor lead:  Can a new treatment using stem cells help in multiple sclerosis? Elizabeth Tracey reports

A new therapy using chemotherapy and stem cells appears to help people with multiple sclerosis, a recent study reported.  Peter Calabresi, a multiple sclerosis expert at Johns Hopkins, says a major factor in this strategy is damping down inflammation.

Calabresi: We know in inflammatory diseases like MS that stopping the inflammation with very potent robust therapies like chemotherapy does have an acute effect and it reduces disability.   We saw this when we gave high dose cyclophosphamide that many of the patients had reductions in disability.  It’s been seen in all the clinical trials of FDA approved immune therapies that a certain proportion of patients who have a lot of inflammation when you reduce that inflammation they feel better and their nervous systems function better.   :27

Calabresi says previous studies using stem cells have been disappointing, and because there were no controls in this study, their utility still hasn’t been proven.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.