us-emma 28/01/15
Last reply 2 years ago
Need Help Understanding Stem Cell Therap

I am all confused about stem cell therapy. Does anyone have a good reference to read up on the options and outcomes? It seems to be coming up more and more on the MSRBlog out of Barts but I cant get all the options and results straight.

I also read this might not be a ‘one and done’ therapy. Is that true?

Did anyone see the research at A/Ectrims Boston about MS being caused by up to 400 genes- 130 or so that have been mapped to date? The more MS ‘genes’ you have the worse your disease (is the thinking)
If this is true then I dont understand the durability of stem cell therapy unless it is completely ablative and non-homogenous (donor) replacement cells.

And I thought patients were getting their own cells (are they washed?) back in the transfusion. If this is the case eventually your own dna would restore and drive new cell production and put you right back with the same immune system that allowed MS to develop in the first place.

Horribly confused here!

Thanks in advance 🙂

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3 years ago

I don’t know if you can post links to other sites, but received an article on stem cell research today from multiplesclerosisnewstoday with several references that might lead to some answers for you. Recommend that you get on their email list if you aren’t. I am definitely interested in that as well as the anti-lingo-1 and rhigm22 nerve repair therapies in clinical trials now. I hope to get in a clinical trial in the future once they have made it to phase 3. Good luck with your research!

3 years ago

@mbrsinc , links to creditable sources are OK. So for anyone interested, here’s alink to the article mentioned above. 😉

3 years ago


I had this conversation with my Neurologist

They take your stem cells from your bone marrow and then wash it ? whatever that involves. Kill your immune system with chemo then give you them back. Note this can kill you but they are a lot better than they used to be.

He told me that this pauses the MS for approx 4 years but it does come back as your immune system recovers. He also said that if you had an Identical twin in theory assuming they didn’t have MS it could work permanently.

If you take stem cells from another then you are on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of your life.

If you have a very aggressive MS it is deemed to be worth doing but not for slower progressive.

I have no medical knowledge and I hope i am wrong as i would love it to work.

It is out there being done and they are learning

3 years ago

Hi @us-emma – Dita here from, really interesting topic and I reckon lots of people have similar questions.

We are doing Ask an MS Expert project where we talk to leading researchers about their work and our first stop is Edinburgh where work is being done on stem cells and MS.

So if you have any questions, keep filling in this form with as many as them as you have and we’ll film the answers and share them back with you.

3 years ago

Thank you for all the resources and suggestions. I plan to devote this weekend to research all this information.

I really appreciate everyone’s input! Love Shift!

3 years ago

I hope no new neural deficits post lemtrada are behind your interest in stem cell. I marveled at your success and selfishly hoped for the same. 🙂

3 years ago

Nope, just curious about science.

3 years ago

I used to work in stem cells. We treated cancer patients (leukaemia, lymphoma) with either their own stem cells or tissue matched donor stem cells.

They were given drugs to mobilise sc from their bone marrow into their blood stream. The sc were then harvested using a machine that took blood, separated out the white cells including sc into a bag and gave the rest of the blood back to the patient. The collected sc were then frozen while the patient received chemo to destroy their bone marrow. When ready the frozen sc would be thawed and infused back like a blood transfusion. The sc home back into the bm, settle in and start rebuilding their immune system.

There’s a high risk of infection and was always seen as too risky for ms. I guess things have developed further since I left the field.

3 years ago

Its important to note there is stem cell treatment and there is HSCT.

In HSCT, the hematopoietic stem cells are taken from your own bone marrow. Chemotherapy is given to destroy your immune system (Lemtrada does not do this). Stem cells are put back in. Theory being your new immune system will not have the same memory / makeup and not attack oneself! This is my understanding anyway but I’m no doctor.

Reference pages
Barts MS Blog has quite a bit of info too. Some very interesting comments about it on the blog at the moment and well worth a read.
There is an excellent facebook group if anyone wants to find out more.

@bloomers1968 I’d be very interested to know where your neuro got those stats from as I’ve not come across them before.

3 years ago

NHS England policy – MS is mentioned briefly. A little known fact but a handful of MSers have been treated through the NHS.

Re your question Emma about DNA reproducing the same outcome, I wonder about that too but then DNA alone does not drive MS and if that was the case identical twins would both have it. Environment / lifestyle seems to play a part too.

3 years ago

My info came from my neurologist in Leeds when I asked him

3 years ago

I wonder where his evidence base came from.

3 years ago


Very good point about twins!

I wonder if we will end up adding a cycle of antivirals in with the chemo to treat things like EBB- or some such- down the line as scientists learn more.

What you are calling HSCT is what I learned in nursing school as “autologous” or self transplant. (Allogeneic being the word I knew for donor cells). I need to see if HSCT differs from autologous. It may have to do with cell selection- I saw one study that only re infused B36 cells (I think this is the right subset).

I need more hours to get this straight in my head 🙂

2 years ago

I think you have to be pretty unlucky to get MS ‘again’ after AHSCT – the type offered under NHS England – I think it’s just the fact that in small percentage it just doesn’t kill it off as their MS has progressed too far. They are targeting people with EDSS score of around 3 for treatment I understand. Following a healthy diet, exercise, low stress and sunshine should hold you in pretty good stead to stay MS free after the ‘reboot’.

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