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Immune System 'Reboot' Shows Promise for MS

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New research from Northwestern University could be a breakthrough for people living with Multiple Sclerosis. A new kind of adult stem cell therapy appears to actually reverse the disease.

In people with MS, the immune system goes haywire, and attacks tissue in the brain. Northwestern’s Dr. Richard Burt took 21 patients, wiped out their immune systems with chemotherapy, and then injected them with stem cells taken from their own bone marrow. Burt says that reboots the immune system.

BURT: The immune system develops like in a newborn baby. And its default is to come back tolerant to self. So it no longer attacks the patient’s brain, and the disease stops.

Burt says the therapy seems not only to slow neurological decline, it actually undoes some of the damage. Patients in the trial improved for about two years after the therapy. Burt says his sample size was small, and much more research is needed to prove the benefits. The study is being published online today in the British journal, Lancet.

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