Multiple sclerosis (MS) poses distinct challenges for many individuals. Not only does it present an array of frustrating symptoms ranging from muscle weakness and numbness to vision and bladder problems, but in some patients, it may resist medications altogether. For patients in search for an alternative option for relapse-remitting MS, researchers at Duke University School of Medicine are exploring a new potential therapy in a clinical trial: stem cell transplantation.
The trial, which is highly selective and randomized, will test the efficacy of stem cell transplantation of bone marrow against several different immune reconstitution therapies. Participants will include patients for whom disease-modifying therapies have been ineffective in the past.
While the study’s investigators acknowledge the risks that come with immunosuppression, they are also optimistic in the treatment’s ability to manage some of the most progressive forms of MS, calling stem cell transplantation “one of the most promising therapies” for the condition. By reconstituting the immune system through suppression and then introducing stem cells, the objective is to combat the inflammatory flares that occur in the brain and spinal cord every 12 to 15 months in this form of MS.
Immune reconstitution has already shown promise in the past, and people with MS who have undergone the treatment have witnessed the absence of new symptoms several years after pursuing the therapy. Compared to existing therapies, many of which have been around since the early 1990s, the treatment could hold enormous potential under the right circumstances. The trial’s team is working diligently to mitigate potential risks and thoroughly examine any individual risk factors with prospective participants. Contact a Care Coordinator today for a free assessment!