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Stem cells “may help MS damage”

The effects of multiple sclerosis could be helped by stem-cell treatment within 15 years, a leading expert on the disease has said.

Professor Charles ffrench-Constant, the director of a MS research centre in Edinburgh, said the treatment could be used to halt the decline of patients suffering from the debilitating nerve condition.

Nerve damage caused by MS could be treated with the stem cells, he said.

But researchers also want to find a way to make the body rebuild myelin – the sheath which protects nerve fibres – using stem cells, which have the ability to turn into different types of tissue, he said.

At present, medicines can only help reduce the inflammation which causes MS.

Prof ffrench-Constant said: “My vision for a patient coming into a clinic in 10 or maybe 15 years’ time is they will be given a mixture of drugs to prevent the inflammation and to promote repair. That way, MS would no longer be a chronic, disabling disease.”

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Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine