Jan Hillert, MD, PhD: Stem Cell Transplants in MS


The professor and senior physician in the department of clinical neuroscience at the Karolinska Institutet spoke to the use of stem cell transplantation as a potential method of treating multiple sclerosis.

“There is an increasing body of evidence indicating that the effectiveness of such procedures is very good. The proportion of patients having gone through such a procedure having NEDA is unparalleled by other trials and ways of treating MS.”

In recent years, a growing number of researchers have begun to probe into the possibility of treating multiple sclerosis (MS) with stem cell transplantation therapy. A number of different types of stem cells—including hematopoietic, mesenchymal, neural, human embryonic, and induced pluripotent stem cells—are all of interest, though the field is still in its infancy.

At ECTRIMS 2019, September 11-13 in Stockholm, Sweden, Jan Hillert, MD, PhD, professor and senior physician, clinical neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, spoke with NeurologyLive about such treatments. The meeting also featured the design of the MESEMS phase 2 study of mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of MS, which is still ongoing with more than 140 patients with relapsing (n = 92), secondary progressive (n = 31), and primary progressive (n = 17) disease.1

Hillert shared his perspective on these treatments, which have thus shown positive results in relapsing MS. He pointed to the need to identify the safest methods of administering the treatments, as well as how more research is still needed into their effect on disease progression in patients.


1. Uccelli A, Laroni A, Burdin L, et al. MEsenchymal StEm cells for Multiple Sclerosis (MESEMS): a multi-center, randomized, double blind, cross-over phase 2 Clinical Trial with autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC). Presented at: ECTRIMS 2019; September 11-13; Stockholm, Sweden. Poster 1378.

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