Second stage stem cell trials start for MS at Frenchay

June 2, 2011 by
Filed under: News 

$1.1 million donation for pioneering stem cell MS trial

Researchers at Fenchay Hospital have started the second stage of pioneering stem cell trials into a possible treatment for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) following  $1.1m donation from a US charity.

The grant from the Kenneth and Claudia Silverman Family Foundation to the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust will fund a phase II clinical trial of bone marrow cellular therapy in MS patients. Bone marrow is known to contain stem cells capable of repairing many types of tissue and organ damage and so is of great interest to those working to develop new treatments for many diseases, including those affecting the nervous system.

The research team, led by Neil Scolding, Burden Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust, has completed a phase I trial into the safety and feasibility of the therapy to establish what effects, good or bad, bone marrow stem cells have on patients with MS, and their disability. Following encouraging results, the team now plans to conduct a larger phase II trial to test and assess the effectiveness of the therapy.

“MS is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults,” sai Professor Scolding. “Thanks to this generous donation from The Kenneth and Claudia Silverman Family Foundation, we are able to take a major step forward in our research to try and find a treatment for this disease, through this trial which we hope will commence later this year. Research into the underlying mechanisms is ongoing and vital, in order to build on these results. We believe that stem cells mobilised from the marrow to the blood are responsible, and that they help improve disease in several ways, including neuroprotection and immune modulation.”

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