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Embryonic Stem Cells Will Offer Treatment For Multiple Sclerosis: Study

Update Date: Jun 17, 2014 07:41 AM EDT

Researchers have identified a novel approach to treating multiple sclerosis using human embryonic stem cells. The promising new therapy will provide a fresh hope to more than 2.3 million people who are suffering from the debilitating disease. 

According to researchers, the embryonic stem cell therapy significantly reduces MS disease severity in animal models offering better treatment results than stem cells derived from human adult bone marrow. 

"The cutting-edge work by ImStem, our first spinoff company, demonstrates the success of Connecticut's Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine funding program in moving stem cells from bench to bedside," said Professor Marc Lalande, director of the UConn's Stem Cell Institute, in the press release. 

"Connecticut's investment in stem cells, especially human embryonic stem cells, continues to position our state as a leader in biomedical research," added Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, in the press release. "This new study moves us one step closer to a stem cell-based clinical product that could improve people's lives."

Researchers added that the findings also offered potential therapy for other autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid and type-1 diabetes. 

"Groundbreaking research like this furthering opportunities for technology ventures demonstrates how the University acts as an economic engine for the state and regional economy," said Jeff Seemann, UConn's vice president for research.

MS is a chronic neuroinflammatory disease in which body's immune system eats away at the protective sheath called myelin that covers the nerves. 

"The beauty of this new type of mesenchymal stem cells is their remarkable higher efficacy in the MS model," says Wang, chief technology officer of ImStem, in the press release. 

The findings of the study are appearing in the current online edition of Stem Cell.

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