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Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis Shows Promise in Mouse Model

Mice crippled by an autoimmune disease similar to multiple sclerosis (MS) regained the ability to walk and run after a team of researchers implanted human stem cells into their injured spinal cords. The research was a joint effort conducted at The Scripps Research Institute, University of Utah and University of California. What is most remarkable is that the mice recovered even after their bodies rejected the human stem cells.

The researchers speculate that the mice’s dramatic recovery could be a milestone in the creation of new ways of treating multiple sclerosis in humans. "This is a great step forward in the development of new therapies for stopping disease progression and promoting repair for MS patients,” said co-author Craig Walsh, a UC Irvine immunologist.

Stem Cell Therapy for MS?

The research has shown that the implanted human stem cells triggered the creation of white blood cells known as regulatory T cells. These cells are responsible for “shutting down” the autoimmune response at the end of an inflammation. The most amazing part of the findings is that the implanted cells also released proteins that triggered the re-myelination of the nerve cells that had been stripped of their protective sheaths.