‘Breakthrough’ in multiple sclerosis treatment reported by UAE stem cell center

Abu Dhabi: A UAE-based stem cell center has reported a “breakthrough” in a clinical trial for multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord or nervous system central.

The Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Center (ADSCC) has announced that MS patients’ symptoms will improve markedly after treatment.

ADSCC, a subsidiary of PureHealth, said it has achieved a milestone in one of its ongoing clinical trials: the Extracorporeal Photopheresis (ECP) for the Optimal Management of Multiple Sclerosis Study (PHOMS). The study evaluates the safety and effectiveness of using ECPs to treat people with MS.

As an immunomodulatory therapy used for some cancer treatments, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), and autoimmune diseases, DBS in this study seeks to alleviate MS symptoms by rebalancing the patient’s immune system.

Success story

ADSCC has revealed that one of the success stories within the PHOMS trial involves a resident of the United Arab Emirates, diagnosed with MS in 2019.

Before participating in the study, the patient experienced debilitating symptoms such as difficulty walking, imbalance, gait disturbances, difficulty speaking, and cognitive impairment.

“After six months of PAE treatment, the patient reported significant improvements in mobility, reduction in imbalance-related problems, and clearer speech. These improvements have been consistently observed during their three-month neurological testing,” ADSCC said.

Health Department Approval

In 2022, the ADSCC trial received approval from the Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DOH). Since then, it has enrolled a group of participants diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) or relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

The trial is also registered in the global clinical trials registry available online.

Dr. Yendry Ventura, principal investigator of the PHOMS study at ADSCC, said: “Clinical trials and research play a critical role in advancing healthcare and putting cutting-edge innovations within reach of the public. “These efforts drive clinical progress, improve patient care, and close the gap between innovative discoveries and real-world healthcare solutions.”

“In line with the vision of the UAE leadership and as a leader in clinical research in the UAE, our clinical trials and research efforts at ADSCC signify an extraordinary chapter in our medical history and accelerate our pursuit of a healthier society and the establishment of Abu Dhabi as a leading global destination for healthcare, innovation and research,” said Dr. Ventura.

“The clinical outcome of our patients in this clinical trial is a milestone that underscores our dedication to rewriting the narrative of MS treatment in the region,” he added.

Dr Fatima Al Kaabi, Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant (AD-BMT) Program at ADSCC, who is also an investigator in the PHOMS Study and Vice President of the National MS Society, said: “ADSCC is proud “To be at the forefront of innovative research in the field of MS treatment and through innovative therapies and research, we aim to improve the quality of life of MS patients.”

He added: “Revealing the impact of PAE in people with MS is a journey that began a year ago through the PHOMS clinical trial at ADSCC during which our dedicated world-class physicians, scientists and researchers worked together to pioneer therapies.” cutting-edge for MS. patients. In the pursuit of excellence, we recognize that every discovery we make has the potential to change lives today and tomorrow.”

28 procedures in 6 months

Dr. Yandy Marx Castillo Alemán, Head of Clinical Trials and Sub-Investigator of the PHOMS study at ADSCC, said: “The PHOMS trial has already made significant progress with our participants. Patients are accepted following specific clinical, laboratory and imaging criteria,” he said.

“Under the PHOMS study, patients undergo a series of 28 PAE procedures lasting six months, followed by an additional six-month period of follow-up by the ADSCC Neurology team. “The promising results we saw with our patients allow us to move forward with the PHOMS study which will be completed in another 12 months.”


Dr Ruqia Mir, consultant neurology and sub-investigator of the PHOMS study at ADSCC, said: “This innovative procedure used in our study, ECP, involves treating a patient’s autologous leukocytes with a photoactivatable drug, followed by exposure to UVA light and subsequent reinfusion to the patient. DBS has shown promising results in addressing a variety of medical conditions and now, with our clinical trial, offers hope to people living with MS. Through the PHOMS study and our commitment to transformative research, we strive to provide additional treatment options for patients facing this challenging condition.”

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