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Stem Cell Therapy for PPMS: Treatments, Research & Benefits (2024)

Discover the latest advancements in managing primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), including stem cell therapy, lifestyle changes, and support systems for improved quality of life.

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Stem cell therapy for PPMS is increasingly recognized as a promising solution for managing Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, a relentless condition without remission.Patients and their caregivers seek effective treatments beyond conventional therapies, which often fall short in addressing the progressive symptoms of PPMS.

Understand the potential of stem cell therapy to enhance quality of life and explore its benefits and risks, ensuring informed decisions for those impacted by this challenging disease.


Stem Cell Therapy for PPMS

Stem cell therapy, specifically the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), is a novel approach to treating primary progressive MS (PPMS). This innovative therapy aims to improve disease state by reducing inflammation, regulating immune cells, and potentially promoting tissue repair.

The immunomodulatory, tissue-protective, and repair-promoting properties of MSCs make them an attractive therapeutic option for multiple sclerosis and other conditions characterized by inflammation or tissue injury.

Key Benefits of MSC Therapy for MS:

  • Regulation of the Immune System: MSCs help maintain immune balance, which is crucial in treating autoimmune conditions like MS.
  • Neurological Repair: They aid in the repair of damaged myelin sheaths and neurons, essential for restoring nerve function.
  • High Cell Availability: A significant number of mesenchymal cells can be harvested from umbilical cord tissue.
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: Stem cells possess strong anti-inflammatory capabilities that contribute to tissue repair and regeneration.
  • Non-invasive Treatment: IV stem cell therapy does not require surgical intervention or downtime, offering a less disruptive treatment option.
  • Symptom Management: Potentially reduces MS symptoms and stabilizes the condition, possibly extending periods of remission.

Research and Effectiveness:

  • Current Research Status: The success rate of MSC therapy in MS is under continuous evaluation, with existing studies showing mostly positive but preliminary results.
  • Need for Further Studies: Comprehensive studies are required to fully ascertain the safety and efficacy of this therapy in MS patients.

The Role of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Treating MS

MSC therapy offers a promising alternative to traditional MS treatments.

Research has shown that stem cells have the potential to repair the myelin sheath, a protective covering around nerve fibers in the central nervous system that becomes damaged in MS. Furthermore, MSCs can modulate the immune response, which is thought to be involved in MS development.


The Potential of MSCs to Protect and Repair Nerve Cells

A study published in Stem Cell Research & Therapy in 2019 indicates that MSCs may protect nerve cells from damage by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress while promoting remyelination. However, it is crucial to note that stem cell therapy for MS is still in the early stages of research and development, and further studies are needed to determine its long-term efficacy.

Expanded cord tissue-derived umbilical cord cells have shown potential for treating MS more effectively, with studies conducted on both secondary progressive MS and relapsing-remitting MS. Administered MSCs can help regulate the immune system and prevent further myelin degradation, making them an attractive therapy for MS and other conditions characterized by inflammation or tissue injury. Some patients have even reported significant improvements in symptoms such as peripheral neuropathy.

Advantages of Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

The advantages of stem cell therapy for MS include the ability of MSCs to help regulate the immune system, repair damaged myelin sheath or neurons, and provide a high number of mesenchymal cells from umbilical cord tissue. Furthermore, stem cells have potent anti-inflammatory properties, allowing for tissue repair and regeneration. IV stem cell therapy is non-invasive and does not require downtime, potentially reducing debilitating MS symptoms and stabilizing the condition or extending periods of remission.

The success rate of MSC therapy for multiple sclerosis is still under investigation, with limited studies reporting primarily positive results. Some studies on relapsing forms of MS have reported improvements in symptoms and reduced inflammation following MSC therapy. However, larger studies and more research are necessary to confirm the safety and efficacy of MSC therapy for MS.

stem cells for PPMS

The Science Behind Stem Cells

Stem cells are unique cells that have the potential to develop into many different cell types, including nerve cells. In recent years, stem cell therapy has emerged as a promising treatment for various neurological disorders, including MS.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a type of stem cell that can differentiate into various cell types, including nerve cells. MSCs also have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties, making them a potential treatment for PPMS. Learn more about mesenchymal stem cells here.

Stem Cell Therapy Success Rate

Research on the success rate of stem cell therapy in multiple sclerosis is still ongoing. However, early studies have shown promising results, with some patients experiencing reduced inflammation and improved neurological function. Find more information about the success rate of stem cell therapy in MS here.

The Process of Stem Cell Therapy for PPMS

  1. Before undergoing stem cell therapy for PPMS, patients must undergo a thorough evaluation by a healthcare provider. This evaluation will help determine the suitability of stem cell therapy for the patient and establish a personalized treatment plan.
  2. The stem cell therapy process involves the extraction of stem cells, either from the patient's own body or from a donor. The cells are then processed and expanded in a laboratory to ensure they meet the required criteria for treatment. Once the stem cells are prepared, they are administered to the patient through an intravenous infusion or injection into the affected area.
  3. Following stem cell therapy, patients are closely monitored by their healthcare provider to track their progress and assess the effectiveness of the treatment. Some patients may require additional treatments or follow-up care to ensure optimal results.


Treatment Options for Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)

PPMS is a challenging form of multiple sclerosis characterized by a steady progression of disability from the onset of symptoms, without the typical relapses and remissions seen in other forms of MS. Until recently, there were no FDA-approved treatments specifically for PPMS.

In 2017, ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) became the first medication approved for the treatment of PPMS. Ocrelizumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets B cells, which are believed to play a role in the damage to the central nervous system in MS. In clinical trials, ocrelizumab was shown to slow the progression of disability in people with PPMS.

Other therapies, such as rituximab and stem cell therapies, have shown promise in small studies but require further research to establish their efficacy and safety in PPMS. Additionally, rehabilitation therapies, including physical therapy and occupational therapy, play a crucial role in managing symptoms and maintaining function in people with PPMS.

The treatment of PPMS requires a multidisciplinary approach, combining medication, rehabilitation, and supportive care to address the complex needs of individuals living with this challenging form of MS. As research continues, it is hoped that new and more effective treatments will be developed to improve the lives of those affected by PPMS.

Managing PPMS

Managing Multiple Sclerosis (MS) involves a combination of medical treatments, lifestyle adjustments, and support networks to improve the patient's quality of life, alleviate symptoms, and slow disease progression.

Lifestyle Changes

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help improve overall well-being and slow down the progression of PPMS. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and prioritizing sleep. Find out how to increase natural stem cell production with a healthy diet here.

Exercise and Physical Therapy

Regular exercise and physical therapy can help maintain muscle strength, flexibility, and balance, which are crucial for people with PPMS. Exercise may also improve mood and overall quality of life. Learn how exercise can help PPMS here.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy can help people with PPMS adapt to their changing abilities and maintain their independence in daily activities. This may include learning new techniques for performing tasks or using adaptive equipment.

Emotional and Mental Health Support

Living with PPMS can be challenging, and it is essential to address the emotional and mental health aspects of the disease. Support from friends, family, and healthcare professionals can help individuals cope with the challenges of PPMS.

New PPMS treatments


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system. Two main subtypes of MS are primary progressive MS (PPMS) and relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), which differ in their clinical course, symptoms, and prognosis.

Disease Course and Symptoms

PPMS is characterized by a steady worsening of neurologic function from the onset of symptoms, without clear relapses or remissions. Patients with PPMS may experience gradually increasing difficulty with walking, balance, and bladder control.

In contrast, RRMS features distinct episodes of new or worsening symptoms (relapses) followed by periods of partial or complete recovery (remissions). Common RRMS symptoms include vision problems, sensory disturbances, and muscle weakness.

Diagnosis and Prognosis

The 2017 McDonald criteria provide guidelines for diagnosing PPMS and RRMS based on clinical presentation, MRI findings, and cerebrospinal fluid analysis. PPMS tends to have a later age of onset and a worse prognosis compared to RRMS, with faster accumulation of disability. However, some RRMS patients may transition to a secondary progressive phase (SPMS) later in the disease course.

Pathophysiology and Treatment

While both PPMS and RRMS involve inflammation and neurodegeneration, PPMS may have more diffuse inflammation and axonal loss from the onset. There are fewer approved treatment options for PPMS compared to RRMS, which has several disease-modifying therapies available to reduce relapses and slow disability progression.

Further research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms of PPMS and develop targeted therapies to improve outcomes for patients with this challenging form of MS.



In conclusion, primary progressive MS (PPMS) is a complex and challenging form of multiple sclerosis that affects a person's life significantly. Unlike relapsing-remitting MS and secondary progressive MS, PPMS tends to follow a steady course of worsening symptoms without periods of remission.

Diagnosing PPMS can be a difficult process, as doctors must rely on various diagnostic tools, such as MRI scans, to identify the disease based on specific criteria.

Individuals with PPMS may not experience relapses like those with other forms of MS, but they often contend with progressively worsening symptoms that can impact their daily lives. As a result, doctors and patients alike are continually searching for more effective treatment options. Disease-modifying therapy, while beneficial for some, has limited effectiveness in treating PPMS.

Stem cell therapy has emerged as a promising alternative treatment for PPMS, offering hope to those who struggle with the disease's relentless progression. As research continues to advance our understanding of PPMS and its underlying mechanisms, it is crucial to explore and develop new treatments that can improve the quality of life for affected individuals.

The journey towards a better understanding of PPMS and more effective treatment options is ongoing, and the experiences of each person living with this condition will help shape the future of PPMS care and management.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best treatment for PPMS?

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for PPMS, as the best approach depends on the individual's specific symptoms and disease progression. Current treatment options include disease-modifying therapies, medications to manage symptoms, and stem cell therapy.

Can stem cells reverse MS damage?

Stem cell therapy has shown promise in reducing inflammation and promoting the repair of damaged nerve cells in MS. However, more research is needed to determine the full extent of stem cell therapy's potential to reverse MS damage.

Can you reverse PPMS?

There is currently no cure for PPMS, and reversing the disease is not possible. However, treatments like stem cell therapy may help slow down disease progression and improve overall quality of life for individuals with PPMS.

What is the average age of death for PPMS?

The life expectancy for individuals with PPMS varies depending on factors such as the severity of the disease and the effectiveness of treatments. While PPMS can shorten life expectancy, many people with the condition can live relatively normal lives with proper management and care.

Does exercise help PPMS?

Yes, exercise can help individuals with PPMS maintain muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. Regular physical activity may also improve mood and overall quality of life. It is essential to work with a healthcare professional to develop an appropriate exercise plan tailored to individual needs and abilities.


Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Primary Progressive MS (PPMS). Retrieved April 24, 2024, from

Montalban, X., Hauser, S. L., Kappos, L., Arnold, D. L., Bar-Or, A., Comi, G., de Seze, J., Giovannoni, G., Hartung, H. P., Hemmer, B., Lublin, F., Rammohan, K. W., Selmaj, K., Traboulsee, A., Sauter, A., Masterman, D., Fontoura, P., Belachew, S., Garren, H., . . . Wolinsky, J. S. (2017). Ocrelizumab versus Placebo in Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. New England Journal of Medicine, 376(3), 209-220.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society. (n.d.). Ocrevus (ocrelizumab). Retrieved April 24, 2024, from

National Multiple Sclerosis Society. (n.d.). Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS). Retrieved April 24, 2024, from

Ontaneda, D., & Fox, R. J. (2015). Progressive multiple sclerosis. Current Opinion in Neurology, 28(3), 237-243.

Thompson, A. J., Banwell, B. L., Barkhof, F., Carroll, W. M., Coetzee, T., Comi, G., Correale, J., Fazekas, F., Filippi, M., Freedman, M. S., Fujihara, K., Galetta, S. L., Hartung, H. P., Kappos, L., Lublin, F. D., Marrie, R. A., Miller, A. E., Miller, D. H., Montalban, X., . . . Cohen, J. A. (2018). Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis: 2017 revisions of the McDonald criteria. The Lancet Neurology, 17(2), 162-173.

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