To determine the long-term safety and efficacy of repeated intrathecal (IT) administration of autologous mesenchymal stem cell-derived neural progenitors (MSC-NPs) in patients with progressive MS by evaluating subjects 2 years after treatment.
Twenty subjects were enrolled as part of a phase I, open-label single-arm study of 3 IT injections of MSC-NPs spaced 3 months apart. Subjects were evaluated for adverse events and disability outcomes including the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and the timed 25-foot walk (T25FW). Long-term evaluation was conducted 2 years after the third treatment. CSF was collected before and 3 months after treatment.
Eighteen of the 20 study participants completed the full 2-year follow-up protocol. There were no long-term adverse events associated with repeated IT-MSC-NP treatment. Seven subjects showed sustained improvement in EDSS after 2 years, although the degree of improvement was not maintained in 5 of the subjects. Three of the 10 ambulatory subjects showed sustained improvement in the T25FW after 2 years. CSF biomarker analysis revealed a decrease in C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) and an increase in interleukin 8, hepatocyte growth factor, and C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12) after treatment.
Safety and efficacy of repeated IT-MSC-NP treatment was sustained for 2 years; however, the degree of disability reversal was not sustained in a subset of patients. CSF biomarkers altered in response to IT-MSC-NP treatment may reflect specific immunoregulatory and trophic mechanisms of therapeutic response in MS.
Classification of evidence
This study provides Class IV evidence that for patients with progressive MS, IT administration of MSC-NPs is safe and effective. The study is rated Class IV because of the absence of a non–IT-MSC-NP-treated control group.