I know Dr. Young will put this article with a good news at the right place so more MS people will see it . Dr. Young, always thank you for your help.


A glimmer of hope; Breakthrough in stem cell research could help scientists treat people with MS

KATIE DeROSA
Local News - Saturday, August 11, 2007 @ 01:00

Janet Driessen gestures with enthusiasm as she talks about her disease, stopping only to calm her hyperactive aid dog, Detour, as he bounds around the room.

Her face is warm, youthful, healthy looking. Every few minutes, she reaches under her knees and tugs at her legs, repositioning one at a time the way they sit below the rest of her body.

Her thin legs look heavy as she strains to move them even slightly. Her feet sit under a heating blanket, cold and numb.

Inside her body, the protective covering of the brain and spinal cord, called the myelin, is being attacked, causing piercing spasticity in her legs, partial vision loss and dizziness.

Driessen has multiple sclerosis.

Since her diagnosis 14 years ago, the 49-year-old Grimsby woman has watched and felt the disease progress.

First, it was constant fatigue.

Five years ago, it was having to use two canes to get around.

But after a severe MS attack four years ago, she has only the ability to slowly drag her feet across the room with the help of a walker. Outside her home, she uses a motorized scooter.

"I have not slept a night through since," she says.

The clenching muscle spasms in her legs keep her awake.

But Driessen says there is hope. She sees exciting leaps forward in medical research.

Ongoing research in stem cell therapies, she says, holds some of the most promising answers to what causes MS, how to treat it, and even prevent it.

Scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton made a breakthrough discovery last month that brings researchers closer to understanding how embryonic stem (ES) cells co-exist with the other cells around them.

Looking at cells in Petri dishes, scientists discovered stem cells feed off niche cells protecting them, and the parent cell actually gives rise to its protectors.

This will help researchers find out which group of cells to target when transplanting blood or neuron cells.

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