Mice With MS-Like Condition Walk Again After Human Stem Cell Treatment

Posted: May 16, 2014 at 5:40 pm

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Newswise (SALT LAKE CITY) - 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.

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 didnt 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.

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Mice With MS-Like Condition Walk Again After Human Stem Cell Treatment

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