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Stem Cell Breakthrough May Lead to MS Treatments
Date:4/9/2009

some of this very fundamental biology and fundamental understanding of what human cells do, before you start experimenting with them to put them into people."

Dr. William Sheremata is professor of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He sees many MS patients in his practice and called the study "an excellent example of work that is very carefully done by an expert group of people who really know what they are doing. So I think that the conclusion that FGF2 does not work to facilitate maturation of pre-oligodendrocytes is acceptable at face value. It is the first paper that has stated just that."

Sheremata questioned the therapeutic implications of the report, however, suggesting that therapies based on "autologous stem cells" (adult stem cells) were more likely to bear fruit.

Coetzee, though, called the findings "absolutely critical" to moving toward clinical applications for MS, whether directly by injection of mature oligodendrocytes or more primitive precursor cells, because it both enables researchers to grow large quantities of these cells and to molecularly define the process by which that happens.

"This actually begins to lay the foundation for envisioning having the ability to create the mass quantities of stem cells that you'd need in order to have a therapeutic application in MS," he said.

More information

For more on multiple sclerosis, visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.



SOURCES: Su-Chun Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., professor, anatomy and neurology, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Timothy Coetzee, Ph.D., executive director, Fast Forward, New York City; William Sheremata, M.D., professor, neurology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami; May 2009. Development


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