Stem Cell Clinical Trial For Multiple Sclerosis Approved by FDA

Oct 04, 2013


The Tisch MS Research Center of New York announced on August 14 that the FDA has given its approval to begin a clinical trial to use stem cells in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Main Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Approximately 2.1 million people worldwide are affected by multiple sclerosis, a degenerative autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system and leads to myelin damage. According to Dr. Saud A. Sadiq, senior research scientist at Tisch, this is possibly the first effort in the U.S. that will investigate treatment of MS through direct injection of stem cells into the spinal fluid of patients. He says that the effort “represents an exciting advance in MS research and treatment.”

The MS Stem Cell Trial Team at Tisch

The Tisch MS Research Center is a unique organization with a novel approach to the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Dr. Sadiq has believed for over two decades that combining high standards of clinical care with research targeted at finding the cure to MS would improve the overall standard of treatment for MS patients. In short, at the Tisch center, your researcher is your doctor.

This is different from the standard model, where researchers spend the majority of their time conducting studies, trials, and lab work, while doctors apply the results of research in treating patients. By combining the two and allowing the doctor to conduct research tailored specifically to his patient, the center increases the pace at which discoveries can make it from lab to practice. This recent approval is evidence of the success of Dr. Sadiq’s philosophy.

The Spinal Tap of a Patient with MS

The study in question will use stem cells harvested from the subject’s own bone marrow. Patients will undergo a single bone marrow collection. From there, the appropriate stem cells will be isolated and extracted, then tested before they are injected into the patient. Once this is complete, the cells will then be injected into the fluid surrounding the patient’s spinal cord, which early tests indicate will decrease inflammation in the brain and promote repair of CNS myelin, a protein-rich substance that is necessary for healthy nervous system functioning, and a substance which multiple sclerosis causes the body to attack and destroy.

A Researcher Uses a Microscope in Stem Cell Trial for Multiple Sclerosis

In addition, early indicators are that the stem cells will also provide protection of the neurological system against the virus. Patients will receive three rounds of injections, one every three months, with safety and effectiveness being evaluated through regular follow-up appointments.

The Tisch Research Lab Is the Site of the Stem Cell Trials for Multiple Sclerosis

This application is the result of ten years of research into the use of stem cells to treat MS patients, conducted by a team of scientists headed by Dr. Sadiq and Dr. Violaine Harris, a research scientist at the Tisch Center.

Dr. Sadiq says, “This study exemplifies the Tisch MS Research Center’s dedication to translational research and provides a hope that established disability may be reversed in MS.”

For now, the trial is only a Phase I test, which means it’s still some time away from being widely and commercially available, but if successful, it could represent a major breakthrough in the treatment of MS, and could result in an increased quality of life in MS patients all over the world. Hear Dr. Sadiq talk about his hope for this clinical trial in the video.


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About the author

Jill Liphart
Jill Liphart

Jill is a writer, blogger, social media and Internet marketer, work-at-home, single mom of 5. She provides news about issues that are important to people with disabilities, their loved ones, disability advocates and their friends.

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  1. Lisa Dale
    October 05, 2013

    I have MS and I am very much interested in this “stem cell” treatment. Will it be covered by insurance?

    • October 08, 2013

      Hi, Lisa! Thanks for your question. Since the study has just begun, and it may take some time before the results are determined, it’s unclear at this point whether insurance will cover these procedures. We’ll keep you posted.

  2. Michelle Ruys
    October 07, 2013

    I have MS and would like any information regarding this research and if I could be of any help

    • October 08, 2013

      Hi, Michelle! Dr. Saud Sadiq is heading up the trials being held at the Tisch MS Research Center of New York. They’re in the initial stage of the trial, so there’s not a great deal of information available at the moment. The web site is, where you can find more about their work in multiple sclerosis, or you can use their “contact” page to send a direct email. We hope this helps. Thanks for following our blog!

  3. Terry
    October 19, 2013

    So glad to read of a credible group here in the United States that is willing to look in this new direction toward restoration rather than simply the current practice of slowing progression. I am amazed that the new oral meds continue to approach MS in the same direction as the injections which have already been proven ineffective in their claimed 30% slowing. And I am as amazed that doctors who work with MS patients continue to prescribe such an approach Wishing you well with this research and the trials involved. Bless you all.

    • October 21, 2013

      Hi, Terry! As you can see from the other comments, this is great news for people with multiple sclerosis. AMS Vans will be following the progress of these trials and keep you posted. Thanks so much for your comment and for reading our blog!

  4. Debbie
    October 19, 2013

    Are they still taking patients for this clinical trial?

    • October 21, 2013

      Hello, Debbie! Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any further stories on this trial. Dr. Saud Sadiq is holding the trials at the Tisch MS Research Center of New York. The web site is– please use their “contact” page to send a direct email to learn more. We hope this helps. Thanks for reading the AMS Vans blog!

  5. Marie Meyer
    October 19, 2013


    • October 21, 2013

      Hi, Marie! Dr. Saud Sadiq is coordinating the trials, which being held at the Tisch MS Research Center of New York. The trial is in its initial stage, and there’s not a great deal of information available at the moment. The web site is, and you can use their “contact” page to send a direct email to learn more. We hope this helps. Thanks for reading our blog!

  6. Brandy
    October 19, 2013

    Very interested in the results!

    • October 21, 2013

      Hi, Brandy! We’re not sure how long the trial will take, but we’ll bring you the results as soon as they’re released! Thanks for following our blog!

  7. Cristina
    January 13, 2014

    Hi I will like to know if or when you taking people for the clinical trial and were do you sing up at

    • January 14, 2014

      Hi, Cristina! The clinical trial is being conducted by The Tisch MS Research Center of New York. If you click on the link and go to their web site, you can find more information about their trial and contact them to see if you’re eligible. Thanks for following our blog!

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