Two Canadian research centres are gearing up for a Multiple Sclerosis trial to determine if a type of stem cell can help alleviate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Researchers at the Ottawa Hospital and Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre will each recruit 20 MS patients for the trial that will test whether mesenchymal stem cells can reduce inflammation and even help repair damage already caused by the autoimmune disease.

MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation in the central nervous system, resulting in injury to myelin, the protective sheath that covers nerves. This damage can create a host of symptoms, leading to varying degrees of physical disability and cognitive impairment.

Mesenchymal stem cells, which are found in bone marrow, fat, skin tissue and umbilical cord blood, have the ability to modify the immune system and reduce inflammation, said neurologist Dr. Mark Freedman of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, who is leading the clinical trial.

Freedman said researchers want to determine if these stem cells can demonstrate anti-inflammatory properties in patients with MS.

“But that’s not why we’re doing it,” he said of the study, called MESCAMS (“Mesenchymal Stem cell therapy for Canadian MS patients”). “We have lots of drugs that can control inflammation in multiple sclerosis — that’s what all the new medicines do.”

“The ultimate hope is that we will be able to exploit some of their other very important biological properties, which is to promote repair.”

With this exciting trial in motion, it drives home the growing importance of banking cord blood and cord tissue for your baby.  As a result of banking cord tissue, parents will also have access to MSCs for their families.

To read more about the clinical trials and click here.

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Multiple Sclerosis Trial to Test Stem Cells’ Effectiveness in Patients