A scientist based in Israel is said to be on the brink of making a breakthrough in the treatment of neurological diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS), and now Australians are being encouraged to support his research.
Dimitrios Karussis, who is the director of the Multiple Sclerosis Centre at Hadassah Hospital is Jerusalem, is conducting early-stage clinical trials in the use of mesenchymal stem therapy to treat MS.
MS is one of the most common conditions of the central nervous system, which interferes with the nerve impulses in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, causing problems with vision, balance, muscle control and other bodily functions. There is no known cause of or cure for MS, which comes in four forms: relapsing-remitting, secondary progressive, primary progressive and progressive relapsing.
Mesenchymal therapy (MSC), which Dr Karussis is working on, is different to the current primary MS therapy called autologous haematopietic stem cell tranplantation (AHSCT), in that it doesn’t involve the use of chemotherapy and uses stem cells that can be taken from other parts of the body, not just immune stem cells.
Although MSC research is only in its early stages, MS Research Australia says that the studies have shown that it may have the ability to help the central nervous system impacted by MS to repair itself. But it’s too early to determine whether MSC will be effective at stopping or reversing the effects of MS, the non-profit organisation said.
Dr Karussis’ research at Hadassah is focused on people with primary progressive MS but the same concept could potentially be used in the future to treat Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral disease (ALS) as well as people who’ve sustained brain or spinal injuries or suffered from a stroke.
His work is being supported by Hadassah Australia, which is currently raising money for new, more extensive trials of his MSC. “The research offers dramatic hope for more than 25 million people worldwide dealing with MS,” the Australian philanthropic organisation says.”