Multiple Sclerosis :: Patients own stem cells injected to treat multiple sclerosis

Six patients in the United Kingdom suffering from multiple sclerosis are having their own stem cells injected into them as an experiment to see whether this type of treatment can repair the neurological damage that causes MS.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disorder affecting movement, sensation, and bodily functions. It is caused by destruction of the myelin insulation covering nerve fibers (neurons) in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

The online edition of the London Telegraph reports that the patients at a hospital in the British city of Bristol are participating in the study, in which stem cells are being taken from the bone marrow in their pelvises and then injected into their arms.

The theory is that these stem cells can repair the neurological damage that causes MS, the newspaper reports. “We believe that bone marrow cells have the capability to repair precisely the type of damage that we see in the brain and spinal cord in MS,” trial leader Neil Scolding, professor of clinical neurosciences for North Bristol NHS Trust, told the Telegraph.

“So, by giving patients very large numbers of their own bone marrow cells we hope that this will help stabilise the disease and bring about some repair,” he concluded. The patients are between 30 and 60 years old.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) causes a wide variety of symptoms and can affect vision, balance, strength, sensation, coordination, and bodily functions. The symptoms of MS vary widely from person-to-person and from stage-to-stage of the disease. Initial symptoms often include:

muscle weakness, causing difficulty walking
loss of coordination or balance
numbness, “pins and needles,” or other abnormal sensations
visual disturbances, including blurred or double vision Later symptoms may include:
muscle spasticity and stiffness
speech or swallowing difficulty
loss of bowel and bladder control
incontinence, constipation
sexual dysfunction
cognitive changes

Weakness in one or both legs is common, and may be the first symptom noticed by a person with MS. Muscle spasticity, or excessive tightness, is also common and may be more disabling than weakness.

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