Stem cells could aid in treating muscular sclerosis. Animal experiments have demonstrated that it is possible to stop the aggressive, chronic inflammatory response against the myelin sheath that covers nerve cells, whose destruction leads to the devastating effects of the disease, said Giancarlo Comi, the head of the Experimental Neurology Institute of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University. A three-day meeting, which began in Stresa, on the most recent progress regarding stem cells was opened by Nobel Prize winner Martin Evans and also included some of the most important experts on the subject in the country.
Comi specified that these cells are able to act against multiple sclerosis in two ways: not only are they able to stop inflammation, but they are also aggregate in the locations in which they are acting, keeping the entire area under control.
“It was thought that stem cells were only able to repair tissues, but it has been observed that they also act on the immune system.” The neurologist also cited work by Milan researcher Gianvito Martino, which “has completed the preliminary phase and is now ready for the first clinical study on the applications of stem cells against multiple sclerosis. A study will also be done to establish the doses that can guarantee successful treatment without causing any damage on patients with serious spinal injuries. This study will provide us with information on efficiency, which will be the focus of another study that will begin at the end of the year.”
The conference in Stresa gathered the top researchers in Italy in the stem cell field, with experts on neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, assisted reproduction, leukemia, and lymphoma.