As usual the stem cell issue is over hyped and clearly creates unrealistic expectations. As scientists we need to manage expectations; not create unrealistic ones. In MS we will not know if we have a cure until we have followed up a patient after a particular treatment for 15 to 20 years. This is the duration of follow-up required for us to be confident that the disease won’t return in its progressive form. Please see my previous posting on this issue: click here for previous posting. At the moment Alemtuzumab, Cladribine and bone marrow transplantation, i.e. immune system rebooters, are the only DMTs that offer the potential of a cure. All these therapies are believed to work by depleting the body of autoimmune cells and when the immune system reconstitutes the hope is the autoimmune cells don’t return. This may be the case in some patients, but not all patients are rendered disease activity free for prolonged periods after these treatments. In comparison the non-rebooters work like “sticky-plaster”, they are effective as long as the treatment is taken; when you stop the treatment the disease tends to return relatively quickly.
Re Dr Oz comment in relation to my last posting: