April 13, 2015

In April 2015, preliminary results published in JAMA Neurology showed that autologous hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) and high-dose immunosuppressive therapy (HDIT), which are different than anemia treatment, sustained relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis remission at the 3-year mark. This is the pre-specified interim of the 5-year clinical trial, which contains a total of 25 patients enrolled from various referral centers. JAMA stated that objective of this study is to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and durability of multiple sclerosis disease stabilization after 3 years of HCT and HDIT treatment.

The aim of this clinical trial is to give participants event-free survival free from death and disease, which researchers defined as confirmed loss of neurologic function, clinical relapse, or new lesions observed on an MRI. Of the 25 patients, all but one received HDIT and HCT. When these patients were followed up with 3 years later, the overall event-free survival rate was at 78.4%, with progression free survival at a rate of 90% and clinical relapse free survival rate at 86.3%. Overall, the patients showed improvements in functional scores, neurologic disability, and quality of life.

Michael Racke, MD, a co-author in the study, stated: “If you look at identical twins where one twin has MS, 75% of the time the other twin doesn’t have MS. What we’re trying to do is make an MS patient their own identical twin that doesn’t have MS.”

If you have been asking, “What is stem cell research?” this is one of the many ways that it is being used to pursue treatments and cures for a variety of diseases. One form of stem cell research is umbilical cord blood banking, which collects and stores cord blood found in the umbilical cord of a newborn child. These cells can be used to treat more than 80 diseases, including cancer, leukemia, and anemia treatment. The decision to bank cord blood is one that can be made at any of the stages of pregnancy.

FaceBook  Twitter