Harris VK, and Sadiq SA. Stem cell therapy in multiple sclerosis: a future perspective. Neurodegenerative Disease Management. 2015; 5(3):167-170.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition characterized pathologically by inflammatory CNS demyelination that ‘heals’ by the formation of a glial scar (sclerosis) occurring at multiple discrete sites. The clinical presentation usually consists of relapses of neurological dysfunction followed by variable periods of remission (relapsing-remitting MS). Over time, the majority of such patients develop a progressive course associated with disability (secondary progressive MS). In a smaller subset of patients (15%), the disease is characterized by progression from onset (primary progressive MS). Over the past two decades, a number of therapies have emerged that are most effective in the relapsing-remitting phase of the disease. The current therapeutic challenge is to find an effective treatment to halt disease progression and to reverse established neural injury. Disease progression and the accompanying disability in MS are associated with axonal degeneration and oligodendroglial cell depletion, in addition to the hallmark demyelination. Restoration of neurological function in patients with disability will only be possible if reparative therapies can be developed specifically aimed at remyelination and regeneration. Stem cell-based therapies are currently under investigation to address this major unmet need in MS.