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How Stem Cells are Helping MSers


Below is some information on stem cells, please read the attached PDF for a sensible over view of Multiple Sclerosis Stem Cell Treatments. As with most medical drugs or treatments there is always a risk so you need to know these beforehand, do your research please, there is much to know!


A good rundown on the stem cell treatments currently available and the risks involved can be found in the following pdf from the MS Society, well worth a read as part of your research.


 Types of Multiple Sclerosis Stem Cell Treatments 


MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells)


These are adult stem cells, found in several places in the body including the bone marrow, skin and fat tissue. They produce cells which help other stem cells function properly. MSCs are being trialled for MS. It is thought they may have a positive effect through ‘immunomodulation’ and might also promote the nervous system’s own repair mechanisms to repair damaged myelin 

(‘remyelination’).


HSCs (haematopoietic stem cells)


These are adult stem cells, found in bone marrow and blood. They are capable of 
producing all of the cells that make the blood and the immune system. They are already used to treat leukaemia, lymphoma and several inherited blood disorders. HSCs are being trialled in highly active forms of MS, where it is thought they may help prevent damage to myelin by altering how the immune system functions 
(‘immunomodulation’).

NSCs (neural stem cells)


These are the cells responsible for repairing myelin in the brain, but when someone has MS, their NSCs don’t seem to function properly – they don’t ‘turn on’ to repair the damage that has occurred. 

There are two approaches that might be able to correct this. One is to give drugs 
that make the NSCs already present work more effectively. The other is to transplant new cells that will repair the damage that the resident brain stem cells cannot.NSCs are likely to be trialled for MS soon. It is believed that NSCs can have an effect through immunomodulation and a direct effect on remyelination. NSCs occur naturally in the brain, but because of the difficulty in harvesting cells from the brain, foetal stem cells are used in clinical trials. 

ESCs (embryonic stem cells) and iPSCs (induced pluripotent 

stem cells)


ESCs can naturally produce every type of cell in the body. iPSCs are engineered to do the same. This is still a controversial and uncertain area of research as both ESCs and iPSCs have the potential to develop into tumours. However, it is widely accepted that in the short to medium term, ESCs and iPSCs will be extremely useful in the laboratory – to identify and test potential drugs before they are tested in clinical trials. More safety testing in laboratories is required before they 
can begin to be tested as a possible therapy for MS in people.

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