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Olsztyn/ Great interest of patients with MS in the stem cell program

23.08.2017 Health, Latest news

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There is great interest in patients with advanced MS in the stem cell therapy conducted by researchers from the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the UWM in Olsztyn. The experiment was launched in July, this week more patients receive the cells.

Dr. Beata Zwiernik from the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn told PAP that so far stem cells have been administered to nine people, three of whom received them on Wednesday. More patients will receive stem cells later this week. The therapy in the medical experiment will be administered to a total of 30 patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. It is free for patients.


"Treatments are safe, without complications; patients have antibiotic protection, we give them fluids and painkillers as needed. Patients who participate in the program stay in the hospital for three days, including one day after the treatment. Before the procedure, they undergo psychological tests, skill tests, neurological tests" - explained Dr. Zwiernik.


She added that stem cell therapy in multiple sclerosis is carried out on small groups of patients in several centres in Poland and abroad. "We also benefit from their experiences, and we hope that joint effort will contribute to the advancement of treatment for this disease" - she added.


The interest of patients in the research project carried out by the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Olsztyn is very large. According to the researchers, they receive numerous phone calls from patients. "We qualify patients according to the order of applications, we received 20 applications in the last three days" - emphasized Dr. Zwiernik.


The experimental research project is expected to slow the course of the disease and improve the quality of life for patients. Multiple sclerosis (MS) has several clinical forms. The most common form is the relapsing-remitting MS. Patients in this phase of the disease have treatment options: there are drug programs reimbursed by the National Health Fund, as well as commercial ones. When the relapse and remission phase of SM subsides, the disease progresses to a secondary progressive form. In that phase, the disease progresses slowly but steadily. It manifests itself in the progressive disability as a result of brain atrophy. For these patients there is virtually no treatment other than symptomatic treatment.


Dr. Tomasz Siwek from the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery had previously told the PAP that the study was designed to provide evidence to prove the usefulness of the method in the treatment of MS. During the research project, some patients will initially receive a placebo in order to compare their results with the results of patients who receive stem cells. Ultimately, all study participants will receive stem cell therapy.


Doctors are hoping to slow down the atrophic processes that take place in the advanced phase of the disease. Patients whose mobility on a 10-degree Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) is between 6 and 8 are qualified for the study. These patients either use crutches or move in a wheelchair. Their prospect is being restricted to bed.


This is yet another project carried out by experts from the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery that involves with the administration of stem cells to patients with neurological diseases. Previously, researchers from this department administered them to patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease with very fast progression and poor prognosis. That program covered 90 people from Poland and abroad. (PAP)


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