Mice, who were unable to walk because of an MS-like illness, were treated in May of 2014 with human neural stem cells. The treatment was to test their rejection of the cells, but surprisingly, within 14 days, they began to walk and show other improvements in their motor skills.
The mice eventually did reject the stem cells, but their ability to walk and their other improvements remained. And although mice aren’t exactly like humans, and although it was an MS “like” disease that the mice had, researchers think this may help them to find treatments (maybe a cure??) for human sufferers of MS.
According to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS is a central nervous system disorder that affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. There is no cure but medications can treat some symptoms of the disease.
The study was published online May 15 in the journal Stem Cell Reports.
“This result opens up a whole new area of research for us to figure out why it worked,” co-senior author Jeanne Loring, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., said in the news release. The next step on the road toward possible clinical trials in people is to assess the safety and durability of the stem cell therapy in mice. “We want to try to move as quickly and carefully as possible,” Lane said. “I would love to see something that could promote repair and ease the burden that patients with MS have.”