Monday, March 17, 2014

MS Research Center Raising $300,000 to begin Stem Cell Research Study

In August 2013, the Tisch MS Research Center, led by Saud Sadiq, MD and Violaine Harris, PhD, received approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct a new Phase I trial involving the use of stems cells as an Investigational New Drug (IND).  The small Phase I clinical trial will investigate the safety and efficacy of autologous, mesenchymal stems cell-derived neural progenitor cells (MSC-NPs) in the treatment of progressive MS.

Neural progenitor cells are cells that can develop into neurons and other nervous system cells, such as oligodendrocytes, encouraging neural repair and regeneration as evidenced in studies with mice (Harris, 2012).  Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are adult stem cells derived from bone marrow which can differentiate into other types of cells such as neural progenitor cells (NPCs).  Autologous mesenchymal stem cells are obtained from a person’s (or animal’s) own bone marrow.

In this trial, the stem cells will be taken from each patient’s own bone marrow from which MSC-NPs will be isolated, expanded and tested prior to injection.  Patients will then receive three rounds of intrathecal (into the cerebrospinal fluid) injections of the MSC-NPs at three month intervals.  Patients will be followed for up to 27 months following the final injection.  Although similar studies have been conducted in the United Kingdom, this is the first of its kind to take place in the United States.

 Researchers at Tisch MSRCNY are excited to move forward with this clinical trial which represents the culmination of over 10 years of stem cell research.  However, this first round of research involving 20 patients is expected to cost $600,000 and can’t be completed without money.  Tisch is an independent, non-profit, research center which is funded through charitable donations. 

So, today, Tisch launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo to raise an initial $300,000 by April 14, 2014 to begin the study.  At the time of posting, they have already raised $104,980 towards their goal.  With Indiegogo, any donation amount is accepted and Tisch MSRCNY will receive the funds even if their goal is not met by April 14.  But the MS community can help Tisch meet and exceed this goal simply by spreading the word.

UPDATE (March 27):
With 18 days remaining in the campaign, Tisch has raised $203,047.  They need another $97,000!!!

Read this post in its entirety:

Tisch MS Research Center Launches Indiegogo Campaign to Raise $300,000 for Stem Cell Trial

More Information:
FDA approves unique stem cell therapy trial in MS patients. Lisa Emrich,, August 28, 2013. Accessed March 16, 2014 at

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