Mark Freedman, MD: An Update on Stem Cell Research in MS


The director of the multiple sclerosis research unit at Ottawa Hospital discussed stem cell therapies being explored in multiple sclerosis, and which patients may be eligible for these treatments.

“It’s no longer a [question of] should we think about this as a treatment option? It is a treatment option.”

Stem cell research has been an up-and-coming method to treat not only multiple sclerosis (MS), but a number of other neurological disorders, particularly those of neuromuscular origin. It has garnered so much attention that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) started their own trial in early January comparing the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of stem cell transplantation to the best available biologic drugs for severe forms of relapsing MS.

Mark Freedman, MD, MSc believes the days of uncertainty surrounding stem cells should be a thing of the past. He explained to NeurologyLive that a number of trials have proven they can be a safe and effective treatment option—when done correctly. On the other hand, though, he feels these procedures should only be done by the most experienced, high-level institutions to ensure that efficacy and safety.

Notably, Freedman, who is the director of the MS research unit at Ottawa Hospital, is gearing up for a presentation at the upcoming Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting to provide an update on the current research in stem cell use. In an interview with NeurologyLive, Freedman provides an update on the current state of stem cell research in MS, as well as who should be the first to be treated with this therapy.

For more coverage of CMSC 2020, click here.


Freedman M. John F. Kurtzke Lecture: Stem Cell Research Update. CMSC 2020; May 29-29, 2020.

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