A new report on advances by a San Francisco research and development company working with stem cells says it may be possible to slow or repair the physical nerve deterioration caused by the incurable multiple sclerosis by treating it with fat.
According to a statement from Medistem Inc., which previously reported a medical advance that would make the use of embryonic stem cells unnecessary, three patients treated with the new fat procedures “showed dramatic improvement in their condition.”
That’s according to Dr. Boris Minev from the division of neurosurgery at the University of California-San Diego. He worked with Dr. Thomas Ichim of Medistem on the project.
“While obviously no conclusions in terms of therapeutic efficacy can be drawn from these reports, this first clinical use of fat stem cells for treatment of MS supports further investigations into this very simple and easily-implementable treatment methodology,” Minev said.
Multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune condition in which the body’s own defenses attack nerve cells and destroy the fatty myelin sheath, usually first appears in young adults.
The report said, “It is believed that SVF cells, and other stem cells, may be able to treat the condition by limiting the immune reaction and promoting the growth of new myelin.”
“None of the presently available MS treatments selectively inhibit the immune attack against the nervous system, nor do they stimulate regeneration of previously damaged tissue. We’ve shown that SVF cells may fill this therapeutic gap,” Minev said.
The results come from three MS patients treated with SVF. The first had frequent painful seizures for three years, but after treatment he reported the seizures stopped completely, and he saw improvement in his cognition and a reduction in the spasticity in his arms and legs.
The second reported better balance and coordination as well as improved energy. The third, who had been diagnosed with MS in 1993, reported improved gait, balance and coordination in just a period of several weeks.
“His condition continued to improve over the next few months, and he is currently reporting a continuing improvement and ability to jog, run and even bicycle,” Minev said.
Many medical researchers long have cited their desire for embryonic stem cells to study as a possible solution to myriad human diseases, although few results actually have been documented. Celebrities also have chimed in, including actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. During the 2006 election he lobbied for a Missouri bill that enshrined in the state constitution the right to clone human embryos for “research.”
Officials with Medistem Laboratories told WND at the time their Endometrial Regenerative Cell had successfully treated an advanced form of peripheral artery disease known as critical limb ischemia .
In a peer reviewed publication at that time, the team supported by Medistem said the administration of ERC “preserved leg function and viability in animals induced to mimic the human condition of critical limb ischemia.”
“In addition to our endometrial regenerative cell (ERC) universal donor stem cell technology. … Medistem has been committed to developing pipeline of therapeutic products, including in the area of immune modulation,” said Thomas Ichim, Medistem CEO.
“Given our previous observations and IP filings that a stem cell-rich component of adipose tissue, called the Stromal Vascular Fraction, can concurrently immune modulate, while inducing regenerative activities, we are pleased to see the clinical translation of this approach into multiple sclerosis patients,” he said.
MS affects approximately 400,000 Americans and is characterized by immunological attack on the myelin sheath that surrounds the core of the nerve fibers and facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses in the nervous system.
Ichim reported a collaborator, Dr. Robert Harman of Vet-Stem, already has treated more than 3,500 horses and 1,500 dogs with fat derived stem cells for inflammatory conditions.