08-18-2001, 06:21 PM
Many animal studies have shown that Schwann cells will remyelinate the spinal cord. Both the isolation and storage of human Schwann cells, however, was difficult. However, recently Yale University working with the Miami Project and the Myelin Project (see links below) reported successful isolation, freezing, and then use of thawed human cells to remyelinate the spinal cord or rats:
They are beginning to use this procedure to transplant Schwann cells to patients with multiple sclerosis. There was an announcement that they have transplanted to one patient. However, people can contact Timothy Vollmer, M.D. at Yale University
Myelin Project links
Link to the Yale Schwann cell clinical trial article in the Cure Forum (http://carecure.org/forum/showthread.php?t=13783)
[This message was edited by Wise Young on 04-29-04 at 10:53 PM.]
10-29-2003, 03:48 AM
The Myelin Project Progress Report
June 23, 2003
I. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
The Schwann cell transplantation trial at Yale University, for which
we had high hopes, is over. Earlier this year, Dr. Vollmer and his
colleagues decided to discontinue this study because they found no
evidence of Schwann cell survival in the first three implanted
patients. The study demonstrated, however the safety of the
transplantation procedure, an important result in itself.
Failure to find surviving cells or formation of new myelin in the
Yale trial does not mean that Schwann cells are a dead end. Dr.
Vollmer himself is elaborating a protocol for a second clinical
trial of Schwann cell transplantation that would draw from the
lessons learned in the first. This prospective trial would be
conducted at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona,
where Dr. Vollmer relocated last year.
In our December 2002 newsletter we reported that in the clinical
trial of Schwann cell transplantation in MS patients at Yale
University, the research team led by Dr. Vollmer found no evidence
that the cells had survived in the three transplanted patients.
Although this trial was planned for five patients, the investigators
decided to discontinue the study, and we agreed.
This development is something of a disappointment, as we had planned
and pushed for this trial for several years, and had poured into it
over a half-million dollars. But a negative result is always part of
the bargain when embarking on experimental protocols. Our efforts
were not altogether wasted, however.
The first-ever attempt to transplant myelin-producing cells in the
human CNS, the Yale trial showed the surgical procedure to be safe,
with none of the patients suffering adverse side effects from the
transplantation. This result was largely unexpected-many researchers
believed that operating in the MS brain was too risky and that it
would exacerbate the subjects' condition. But that did not occur. As
mentions of the trial filter into journal articles, several
researchers, both within and outside of The Myelin Project Work
Group, have taken note of the safety of the transplantation
procedure. Now that safety is no longer an issue, other researchers
are likely to replicate the transplantation trial with Schwann cells
or other cell types.
Dr. Vollmer himself is planning to draw up a new protocol featuring
Schwann cell transplantation in the CNS of MS patients. Capitalizing
on the lessons learned in the Yale trial, he intends to improve the
design of the next trial with regard to the site of the
implantation, the stereotactic technique to be used, and MRI imaging
of the patients' lesions. Dr. Vollmer proposes to complete this new
protocol in time to discuss it at the annual meeting of The Myelin
Project Work Group this fall.
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04-27-2004, 04:49 PM
Timothy Vollmer, the neurosurgeon who was carrying out the trial at Yale, has moved to the Barrows Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. I am not sure whether he is planning to continue the trial there. Wise.