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Stem Cell Transplant May Help MS, ALS Patients

Trial reveals immediate immunomodulatory effects; treatment appears safe

TUESDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) who received mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) transplantation in a recent phase 1/2 trial experienced stabilization and, in some cases, improvement; results of the trial are published in the October issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Dimitrios Karussis, M.D., Ph.D., of Hadassah Hebrew University Hospital in Jerusalem, and colleagues administered MSCs to 34 MS and ALS patients to evaluate the safety and feasibility of intrathecal and intravenous administration of autologous MSCs in this patient population.

During the first six months of observation, mean ALS Functional Rating Scale scores stayed stable, while mean MS Expanded Disability Status Scale scores improved. Patients experienced an increase in proportion of regulatory T cells and a decrease in lymphocyte proliferative response. There were no major adverse events reported; minor adverse events related to the injection included transient fever and headache.

"Transplantation of MSCs in patients with MS and ALS is a clinically feasible and relatively safe procedure and induces immediate immunomodulatory effects," the authors write.

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