A phase 2 study conducted, by Dr. Richard A. Nash, on 24 patients with relapsing-remitting MS showed extremely positive results, with 86% of patients relapse free for three years. Patients chosen for the study showed EDSS scores of between 3.0-5.5, which means they had moderate disability in at least one of their functional systems (more information on EDSS scores can be found here). The patient’s treatment included a High Dose Immunotherapy Treatment (HDIT) to essentially erase the patient’s immune system. After their immune system had been removed the stem cells, previously harvested from the patient’s body before the HDIT, are reintroduced into the system to reboot the immune system. The new immune system no longer sees the myelinated nerve cells as a threat and so does not attack them damaging the nervous system, leading to a halt in the progression of the disease.
The Scientific Field’s View
M. Mateo Paz Soldán, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Utah, Salt Lake City and Brian G. Weinshenker, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn says there is “little doubt that high-dose immunotherapy treatment is able to substantially suppress inflammatory disease activity in patients with MS.” However, Dr. Soldán and Dr. Weinshenker go onto say that the “aggressive regimens have resulted in lymphomas associated with Epstein-Barr virus.” Further concerns were raised about this treatment as the Doctors went onto say that similar studies have “shown evidence of prolonged depletion of memory CD4+ cells.”
Nasir Majeed M.D., Beike Biotech’s Medical consultant, gave his thoughts on this type of treatment. He noted “There are obviously some side effects associated with the administration of strong immune suppressing drugs thus we believe mesenchymal stem cell transplantation is a safer and more feasible treatment method.” He went onto say that “the results were very similar to what we have observed after mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in our previous patients.” During the mesenchymal stem cell treatment option there is no need to undergo HDIT and therefore it is a much safer treatment option. This is the main reason why Beike Biotech will not be recommending this treatment protocol anytime soon.
SOURCE: Colorado Blood Cancer Institute. (2015, January 7). “Most MS Patients Who Received Stem Cell Transplants Still in Remission Years Later” Healthline News.
Colorado Blood Cancer Institute. (2015, January 5). “Report of MS stem cell trial brings hope” MS-UK.