Stem Cells, HSCT and Other Promising Approaches to Treating MS
The National MS Society is a driving force of MS research to stop MS in its tracks, restore function that has been lost, and end MS forever. Our current investments total $90 million to drive solutions that will assist people with MS to live their best lives. To make the most progress for everyone, we pursue all promising paths. One of these paths is stem cells, including adult stem cells that act as “spare parts” inside the body. The search underway to develop effective treatments for MS using stem cells is a complex subject and process. The information that follows will help you in responding to the most common questions that are raised about stem cell research and treatment.
The Society’s Position:
There is exciting progress being made through innovative research related to the potential of many types of stem cells both for slowing MS disease activity and for repairing damage to the nervous system. With the urgent need for more effective treatments for MS, particularly for those with more progressive forms of the disease, we believe that the potential of all types of cell therapies must be explored. The Society is currently supporting 12 research projects exploring various types of stem cells, including cells derived from bone marrow, fat and skin, and has supported 70 stem cell studies over the past 10 years.
At present, there are no approved stem cell therapies for MS. Stem cell therapy is in the experimental stage, and it’s important for people to have the best available information to understand this exciting area of research and make decisions related to this complex issue.
Key Talking Points When Addressing the Subject of Stem Cell Research and Treatment:
- There are many types of stem cells that are undergoing varying degrees of research and which are producing knowledge about their potential usefulness for treating MS.
- The National MS Society’s position is that the potential of all cell therapies must be explored for MS, but at present, all are in the experimental stage and there is no proven therapy for MS that uses stem cells.
- The Society has supported research for at least a decade into the potential of different types of stem cells, including cells derived from bone marrow, fat and skin.
- Further study is necessary to determine what kind of cells might prove optimal for treating some or all people with MS.
- Anyone who is considering signing on to a clinical trial should consider carefully the potential adverse events outlined in the “informed consent form” that trial participants must sign.
Below is a link to the Society’s Stem Cell website pages, which provide the detailed information supporting the talking points above. Attached is what everyone should know about stem cell research.