Friday, December 15, 2006
Multiple Sclerosis 2006; 12: 677
Stem cell therapy in patients with multiple sclerosis
It is an unusual week that does not see some new headline in the lay press concerning stem cells and their exciting potential for curing this or that disease. Predictably, conditions that are currently considered incurable claim the most attention, and amongst these multiple sclerosis (MS) is hardly the least conspicuous. The challenging emergence of any number of profiteering outfits dedicated to pocketing enormous sums from the sale directly to patients of so-called stem cell therapies has added controversy to the already much excited lay media. Claims and counterclaims rebound, leaving not only patients and carers but also the clinical and scientific community bemused if not a little weary.
Media headlines apart, there is of course nothing unusual or inappropriate about clinical uncertainty regarding the efficacy or promise of an emerging therapy. But in relation to MS, the (not quite) simultaneous appearance of two very different species of stem cell therapy has complicated matters. Two significant position papers in this issue of Multiple Sclerosis offer valuable insights into the current status of one form of stem cell therapy