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Fat-derived stem cells may treat MS

A preliminary study of the use of fat stem cells to treat three MS patients has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the condition of all three patients and could pave the way for further clinical trials

A preliminary study of the use of fat stem cells (taken from the patient's abdominal fat tissue) to treat three MS patients has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the condition of all three patients and could pave the way for further clinical trials. The results suggest that the use of stromal vascular fraction (SVF) might be beneficial for those with other autoimmune diseases too.  

Dr Boris Minev, at the division of neurosurgery, University of California said: "While obviously no conclusions in terms of therapeutic efficacy can be drawn from these reports, this first clinical use of fat stem cells for treatment of MS supports further investigation into this very simple and easily-implementable treatment methodology."

In the UK approximately 85,000 people have MS (the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults). The technique involved in SVF is simple and involves fatty tissue being removed from the patient using liposuction. A week later, and after a filtering process, millions of stromal vascular fraction cells are injected into the patient. In animal studies, it has been found that these cells make their way to damaged areas of the brain and nervous system, and also lungs and liver. In humans, it is not yet clear how the cells lead to improvements, but it is possible they may help heal the immune system.

The study is published in the Journal of Translational Medicine.

27th April 2009

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