Prof Karussis and his team developed an innovative stem cell treatment that will impact a disease that affects close to 2.5 million people worldwide.

Hadassah’s innovative stem cell treatment uses cells derived from the bone marrow of MS patients. This means there is no prospect of rejection.

Known as NG-01, the treatment protocol pioneered by Prof Dimitrios Karussis at Hadassah stops the possibility of rejection as MS patients receive stem cells derived from the own bone marrow.

The cells are injected into the spinal cord fluid of the patients’ central nervous system. The cells then travel to the site of injury and create a ‘repair ecosystem’ in the lesion area.

The process is relatively simple and takes about 20 minutes under local anaesthesia. The patient spends a couple of hours in the hospital for observation and is then free to go home.

The patients’ improvement was in many cases quite dramatic. Nearly 60% of patients did not show any evidence of disease activity during the entire treatment period, compared to 10% in the placebo group, which translates to a more than 80% reduction in the progression of the disease.

Some 20% of those treated with the stems cells in their spinal fluid showed improvement after a first injection. After six months, 73% not only did not experience disease progression but also improved.

Improvements included a better ability to walk, increased muscle power, neurological improvements in cognitive function and improvements in the dexterity of their hands. A functional MRI also showed that there was improvement in the motor function.

During the trial there were patients who could walk again, including one who went from difficulty moving to running 10 miles.