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Embryonic stem cells offer new treatment for multiple sclerosis
Date:6/16/2014

ed little of the inflammatory cytokine.

Another advantage of human embryonic stem cells is that they can be propagated indefinitely in lab cultures and provide an unlimited source of high quality mesenchymal stem cells the kind of stem cell needed for treatment of MS, the researchers say. This ability to reliably grow high quality mesenchymal stem cells from embryonic stem cells represents an advantage over adult bone marrow stem cells, which must be obtained from a limited supply of healthy donors and are of more variable quality.

"Groundbreaking research like this furthering opportunities for technology ventures demonstrates how the University acts as an economic engine for the state and regional economy," says Jeff Seemann, UConn's vice president for research.

The findings also offer potential therapy for other autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and type-1 diabetes, according to Xu, a corresponding author on the study and one of the few scientists in the world to have generated new human embryonic stem cell lines.

There is no cure for MS, a chronic neuroinflammatory disease in which the body's immune system eats away at the protective sheath called myelin that covers the nerves. Damage to myelin interferes with communication between the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body. Current MS treatments only offer pain relief, and slow the progression of the disease by suppressing inflammation.

"The beauty of this new type of mesenchymal stem cells is their remarkable higher efficacy in the MS model," says Wang, chief technology officer of ImStem.

The group's findings appear in the current online edition of Stem Cell Reports, the official journal of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. ImStem is currently seeking FDA approval necessary to make this treatment available to patients.


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Contact: Colin Poitras
colin.poitras@uconn.edu
860-486-4656
University of Connecticut
Source:Eurekalert

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