Mice with multiple sclerosis-like condition walk again after human stem cell treatment

Multiple Sclerosis and Stem Cell treatment 

1. Clinical Studies update:
According to the latest review there are 50 clinical studies for Multiple sclerosis and stem cells running. Details can be found at: www.clinicaltrials.gov

2. Mice with multiple sclerosis-like condition walk again after human stem cell treatment
Mice severely disabled by a multiple sclerosis (MS) like condition could walk less than two weeks following treatment with human stem cells. The finding, which uncovers new avenues for treating MS, will be published online on May 15, 2014, in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

When scientists transplanted human stem cells into MS mice, they predicted the cells would be rejected, much like rejection of an organ transplant.MS treatment 2014 Expecting no benefit to the mice, they were surprised when the experiment yielded spectacular results.

“My postdoctoral fellow Dr. Lu Chen came to me and said, ‘The mice are walking.’ I didn’t believe her,” said co-senior author, Tom Lane, Ph.D., a professor of pathology at the University of Utah, who began the work at University of California, Irvine.

Within just 10 to 14 days, the mice regained motor skills. Six months later, they still showed no signs of slowing down. “This result opens up a whole new area of research for us,” said co-senior author Jeanne Loring, Ph.D., co-senior author and professor at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

More than 2.3 million people worldwide have MS, a disease where the immune system attacks myelin, an insulation layer surrounding nerve fibers. The resulting damage inhibits nerve impulses, producing symptoms that include difficulty walking, impaired vision, fatigue and pain.

The MS mice treated with human stem cells experience a reversal of symptoms. Immune attacks are blunted, and damaged myelin is repaired, explaining their dramatic recovery. The discovery could help patients with latter, or progressive, stages of the disease, for whom there are no treatments.

Counterintuitively, the researchers’ original prediction that the mice would reject the stem cells, came true. There are no signs of the cells after one week. In that short window, they send chemical signals that instruct the mouse’s own cells to repair the damage caused by MS. This realization could be important for therapy development.

“Rather than having to engraft stem cells into a patient, which can be challenging, we might be able to put those chemical signals into a drug that can be used to deliver the therapy much more easily,” said Lane. With clinical trials as the long-term goal, the next steps are to assess durability and safety of the stem cell therapy in mice.

“I would love to see something that could promote repair and ease the burden that patients with MS have,” said Lane. “This result opens up a whole new area of research for us,” said co-senior author Jeanne Loring, Ph.D., co-senior author and professor at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

More than 2.3 million people worldwide have MS, a disease where the immune system attacks myelin, an insulation layer surrounding nerve fibers. The resulting damage inhibits nerve impulses, producing symptoms that include difficulty walking, impaired vision, fatigue and pain.

3. Research Offers New Hope for Multiple Sclerosis
In the journal Cell Stem Cell in February 2013 it was reported that Scientists at University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y. have converted human skin cells into brain cells and used them to treat mice with myelin disorders, a family of diseases that includes multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Steven Goldman, lead author of the report (published in February 2013) and a neurologist at University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y. marks another promising advance for a technique known as cell reprogramming. The approach returns mature cells to an embryonic-like state, and then transforms them into various types of fresh, healthy tissue that could be used to treat diseases.

Multiple sclerosis is the most common myelin disorder. It strikes when the body’s own immune system attacks myelin, the coating around nerve fibers. That disrupts communication between cells and can cause problems related to muscle movement, balance and vision.

In the latest study, the reprogramming technique “led to the re-myelination of the complete nervous system” of diseased animals, improving their symptoms and prolonging their life. Myelin is made in cells known as oligodendrocytes. Those, in turn, are the offspring of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, or OPCs.

One way to treat an illness like multiple sclerosis is to transplant healthy, lab-made OPCs into the diseased brain, which could restore the lost myelin and reverse the damage from the disease.

Dr. Goldman’s team first reprogrammed human skin cells into embryonic-like stem cells. Then they identified the cascade of chemical signals used by the body to turn embryonic cells into OPCs—and replicated that process in a lab dish. It was hard to do, mainly because OPCs form very late in the body’s development, via a multistage and complex process. It took the researchers six years to decipher the signals and to produce and purify enough OPCs that would yield sufficient myelin.

The OPCs were transplanted into mice with leukodystrophy, a hereditary condition that rendered them incapable of producing myelin. (Each year, thousands of children are born in the U.S. with some form of leukodystrophy.) In the experiment, untreated mice displayed the typical symptoms of myelin-loss as they grew older: They developed tremors, lost their sense of balance and died prematurely, often from seizures.

The treated group initially also developed tremors and other symptoms. But once the transplanted cells began to produce sufficient myelin—it took four months—their symptoms improved and they no longer died of seizures. Dr. Goldman said he hopes to start human trials using the cell-transplantation approach in 2015.

Source:
1. Cell Reprogamming – The Wall street Journal  – GAUTAM NAIK  – Feb. 7, 2013
2. Sciencedaily -Mice with multiple sclerosis-like condition walk again 

Remarks to Picture:
1) Multiple sclerosis (MS) impairs nerve function by damaging myelin, an insulating layer that surrounds nerves. MS mice can’t move well.
2) Human neural stem cells injected into MS mice stimulate the mouse’s own cells to repair the damage.
3) Nerve cell function is restored. MS mice can walk and run.
Credit: University of Utah Health Sciences Office of Public Affairs

 

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