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Cell therapy for multiple sclerosis: a new hope

Sean Harbison

Burlington Danes, Hammersmith Campus, Du Cane Road, London W12 0HS, UK


16 Apr 2014


4 Dec 2014


30 Dec 2014






neural stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, oligodendrocyte precursor cells, neurodegeneration, immunomodulation, remyelination


Multiple sclerosis is a chronic demyelinating autoimmune disease with uncertain aetiology. Due to the heterogeneity of the disease, patients may present with a wide variety of neurological symptoms such as optic neuritis, sensory deficits or cerebellar dysfunction. It remains a disease showing little hope in terms of finding a cure. Although current therapies, such as interferon-β and glatiramer acetate, provide symptomatic relief and can delay the degenerative process, there is still a large impact on quality of life as these therapies lack an ability to reverse damage occurring prior to treatment. Recently, cell therapy has emerged as a promising treatment with signs of recovery both pathologically and clinically in a variety of animal models. Given the multifaceted capabilities of the various stem cells, including immunomodulation and neuroprotection, their potential use as a comprehensive therapy is much more promising than any pharmacological therapy to date. Here, the latest advances of cell therapy are discussed, in terms of potential efficacy, the various cell types that are used, their mechanisms of action and the obstacles that still need to be overcome for translation into a clinical setting.

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