Schwann Cell Transplantation
for Multiple Sclerosis patients
Yale University School of Medicine
15 York Street New Haven, CT 06510
On July 19, 2001, members of The Myelin Project Work Group took a great leap forward when they transplanted one million myelin-forming cells into the brain of a Multiple Sclerosis sufferer, a first in medical history. The trial was led by Dr. Vollmer and was financed entirely by The Myelin Project. This first patient recovered well from the procedure. Although no clinical improvement observed (probably because of the small number of cells transplanted), neither did it worsen. Thus the procedure itself was confirmed as safe.
The first-ever attempt to transplant myelin-producing cells in the human CNS, the Yale trial showed the surgical procedure to be safe, with none of the patients suffering adverse side effects from the transplantation. This result was largely unexpected-many researchers believed that operating in the MS brain was too risky and that it would exacerbate the subjects' condition. But that did not occur. As mentions of the trial filter into journal articles, several researchers, both within and outside of The Myelin Project Work Group, have taken note of the safety of the transplantation procedure. Now that safety is no longer an issue, other researchers are likely to replicate the transplantation trial with Schwann cells or other cell types.