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Study Indicates Benefits of Stem Cells in Treating MS Declines With Donor’s Age
Date:9/9/2013

Durham, NC (PRWEB) September 09, 2013

As stem cell clinical trials for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients become more common, it is crucial for researchers to understand the biologic changes and therapeutic effects of older donor stem cells. A new study appearing in the latest issue of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine is the first to demonstrate that, in fact, adipose-derived stem cells donated by older people are less effective than cells from their younger counterparts.

MS is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by inflammation and scar-like lesions throughout the central nervous system (CNS). There is no cure and no treatment eases the severe forms of MS. But previous studies on animals have shown that transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) holds promise as a therapy for all forms of MS. The MSCs migrate to areas of damage, release trophic (cell growth) factors and exert neuroprotective and immunomodulatory effects to inhibit T cell proliferation.

MS-related clinical trials have all confirmed the safety of autologous MSC therapy. However what is unclear is whether MSCs derived from older donors have the same therapeutic potential as those from younger ones.

"Aging is known to have a negative impact on the regenerative capacity of most tissues, and human MSCs are susceptible to biologic aging including changes in differentiation potential, proliferation ability and gene expression. These age-related differences may affect the ability of older donor cells to migrate extensively, provide trophic support, persist long-term and promote repair mechanisms," said Bruce Bunnell, Ph.D., of Tulane University’s Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine. He served as lead author of the study, conducted by a team composed of his colleagues at Tulane.

In their study, mice were induced with chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and treated before diseas
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