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Cleveland researchers collaborate to launch Phase 1 clinical trial for new MS treatment
Date:8/23/2011

A team of researchers at three landmark Cleveland institutions have come together to launch a new clinical trial of an experimental treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, and Case Western Reserve University are collaborating on a ground-breaking study that will test the feasibility and safety of using the body's own stem cells to treat MS.

In patients with MS, the immune system abnormally attacks the central nervous system, causing damage to the nerve cells and their protective myelin sheath. The body has mechanisms that attempt to repair this damage; however, in MS, the repair cannot keep pace with the ongoing damage.

The Phase 1 trial involves harvesting a patient's mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which are primitive cells in the bone marrow, culturing them in a laboratory, and then injecting the MSCs intravenously back into the patient to see if the procedure is safe, decreases disease activity, and leads to improved repair.

The research team is headed up by Jeffrey Cohen, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic's Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, and is funded by a $2.75 million, four-year grant from the United States Department of Defense and a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Cohen is Director of the Mellen Center's Experimental Therapeutics Program and Professor of Medicine (Neurology) in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He has taken a lead role in a large number of MS clinical trials, including a Phase 3 trial that led to the recent approval of the first oral therapy for MS.

"Currently, there are eight medications approved to treat MS. They slow the disease but none of them reverses it. The hope is that mesenchymal stem cells will lessen ongoing damage caused by MS and promote repair," said Dr. Cohen. "We're taking a ca
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Contact: George Stamatis
george.stamatis@uhhospitals.org
216-844-3667
University Hospitals Case Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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