Characterized by the body attacking the myelin (the protective sheath that covers the nerve fibers), MS causes communication issues between the brain and the rest of the body. As the nerves continue to deteriorate, the condition can cause permanent damage.
Currently, there is no pharmaceutical treatment for MS, only medications that treat the symptoms of the condition.
In the field of regenerative medicine, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have emerged as a candidate that could potentially treat a number of diseases, including MS. Specifically, MSCs have anti-inflammatory effects and have demonstrated the ability to differentiate in order to target the overactivity and self-antigen attacks observed in the development and progression of MS.
As part of this review, Alanazi et al. reviewed a number of clinical trials that have utilized MSCs isolated from a variety of sources, including peripheral blood, bone marrow (BM-MSCs), adipose tissue (AD-MSCs), umbilical cord (UCMSCs), and the placenta, in order to better understand their potential as a treatment option for MS.
An analysis of these clinical trials led the authors of this review to the consensus that MSCs appear effective in inhibiting CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation, T regulatory cells, and macrophage switch into the auto-immune phenotype.
Further analysis of the specific MSCs used to treat MS by Alanazi et al. indicates that while BM-MSCs, AD-MSCs, and UCMSCs all demonstrate beneficial effects when applied to the treatment of MS, UCMSCs appear to be the best option.
According to the authors, UCMSCs demonstrate faster self-renewal than other MSCs, are able to differentiate into three germ layers, and can accumulate in damaged tissue or inflamed areas. Additionally, UCMSCs are also among the easiest MSCs to source, demonstrate a high concentration of MSCs, are safe and inexpensive, and are not associated with ethical issues.
Based on the information reviewed, Alanazi et al. recommend emphasizing the clinical utility of UCMSCs for regenerative medicine and immunotherapy, including for the treatment of MS.
Source: “Mesenchymal stem cell therapy: A review of clinical trials for multiple ….” 23 Aug. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9420954/.