Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation (MSCT): a potential cell based treatment for inflammatory forms of multiple sclerosis

Investigators:

  • Dr. Mark Freedman, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
  • Dr. James Marriott, University of Manitoba

Area of Research: Therapy and Clinical Tool Development

Term: February 1, 2015- December 31, 2019

Funding: $4,500,000.00 *

Keywords: mesenchymal stem cells, clinical trial, inflammation

Project Summary:

  • The unique properties of stem cells make them promising candidates for treatments that can slow MS disease activity and repair tissue damage in the central nervous system.
  • Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are adult stem cells that can give rise to specific tissues and have demonstrated their capacity to suppress inflammation and repair damaged tissue. Whether MSC are safe and effective in treating MS is unknown.
  • The research team will:
    • Determine if treatment with autologous (originating from the same person receiving treatment) MSCs in people with MS is safe, can reduce harmful inflammation in the brain, and possibly contribute to repair of the central nervous system.

Project Description:

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are an area of intense research focus due to their remarkable ability to reduce harmful inflammation and promote healing of injured tissue. However, it is not currently known whether MSC can benefit people affected by MS. This unresolved question has culminated in the launch of a phase II, double-blind, sham-controlled, clinical trial, called the MESCAMS study {which is the Canadian arm of the MESEMS study (MEsenchymal StEm cells for Multiple Sclerosis), that aims to determine if treatment with autologous (originating from the same person receiving treatment) MSCs in people with MS is safe, can reduce harmful inflammation in the brain, and possibly contribute to repair of the central nervous system. This study is being conducted at 2 sites in Canada, Winnipeg and Ottawa. Each site is enrolling 20 participants who meet the criteria to be included into the study. The Ottawa site has completed enrollment of 20 participants, the Winnipeg site is still recruiting participants from all across Canada. Once each participant is enrolled they will undergo a bone marrow aspiration which will yield the MSCs. These cells will undergo a process in a cell manufacturing lab that will cause them to multiply and once multiplied, these cells will be returned to each patient by intravenous (in a vein) infusion. The participants will be randomized to receive either infusion of their cells or a sham (mock) infusion without any cells. Ongoing safety collection to date has shown no concern with the procedure.

Potential Impact: The results from this clinical trial will provide evidence of repair and pave the way towards a larger phase III trial.

* With support from Research Manitoba and A&W Food Services of Canada Inc.