MS study shows brain repaired by stem cells – The Australian Jewish News
A new Israeli stem cell therapy, intended to make the brains of people with multiple sclerosis ‘repair itself’, has shown promise in a small clinical trial, with several patients showing promising biological changes and reduced disability.
NeuroGenesis, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, has tested its personalized NG-01 therapy on patients, delivering it in two different ways. An intravenous injection had some effect, but doctors observed particularly positive changes in patients who received an injection into the fluid of the spinal cord.
Of the 15 patients who received spinal injections, nine subsequently experienced a decline in levels of neurofilament light chain (NfL), a protein that increases in MS patients as disability progresses. In a control group that received placebo injections, only one of 15 patients experienced such a drop.
Of the nine patients who received the spinal injection therapy and had reduced NfL levels, all but one improved their disability scores even 12 months later at the end of the research. The study was peer-reviewed and published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.
Since NfL is considered an indicator of the progression of MS, it is known as a biomarker of the disease. Tal Gilat, CEO of NeuroGenesis, said The Times of Israel that the fact that the biomarker fell after the administration of the treatment is important.
“We believe our treatment promises to dramatically improve the lives of patients with progressive MS and hopefully lead to a cure for this devastating disease,” he said. “The study showed that for the first time a cell therapy allowed a very significant reduction of a well-known neurodegenerative biomarker in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.”
He added that the therapy may well have relevance for other neurodegenerative diseases beyond MS.
NeuroGenesis technology, originally developed at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, involves harvesting the patient’s bone marrow. Then, specific stem cells are harvested from the bone marrow and enhanced so that they can promote the repair of damaged neurons in MS patients.
These cells are then injected back into the patient’s central nervous system, where the cells focus on the damaged area and regenerate and repair brain damage.
The company is currently planning a large multicenter Phase IIB clinical trial in the United States and Israel. The centers will include the University of Rochester Medical Center and Hadassah Medical Center. The study, which is expected to begin later this year, will initially enroll 60 patients.
“NG-01 cell therapy allows the brain to repair itself, not just slow disease progression like currently available drugs do,” Gilat said. “In some cases, NG-01 has demonstrated dramatic and lasting improvements in disability.”
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