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Extended Project Dissertation Regenerative Medicine Essay

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Extended Project Dissertation

To What Extent Is Regenerative Medicine The Most Effective Way Of Treating Multiple Sclerosis?

Candidate name: Joshua Carter

Candidate number: 7125

Centre number: 61425

Abstract- page 3

Introduction and research- page 4

Discussion- page 10

Conclusion- page 15

Bibliography- page 17


Stem cells are going to be a major point of interest in a large part of modern day biology. They already dominate many of the headlines of newspapers nearly every day and this will only continue. With the continued research going on into this new, potential way of curing many diseases that 20 years ago we would never have thought could have been cured, can it do the same for the neurological condition, multiple sclerosis? And how effective is it in doing so? Many reports have come out of stem cells being effective in mice to cure the disease but with the many controversial points that come with the use of stem cells would alternative, existing methods be a better way of treating it? Are the immunosuppressant drugs of today more effective in treating the condition and are they a more realistic thing to be using? Also is it actually a good thing if we are finding new cures to all of these diseases? With the world’s population rapidly rising and resources running out to feed everybody and supply them all with energy, would it be better if we continued as we are and stopped ‘playing God’? These are the issues that I will be discussing in this essay.

Introduction and Research

What is multiple sclerosis? “An abnormal condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, inflammation,environmental factors, or genetic defect, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs, symptoms, or both.” Is the definition of a disease in an online free dictionary[1] and they affect people’s lives in in many ways, nearly all of them being bad and detrimental to both society, families and the world. they can be passed on by direct transfer of bacteria, viruses and other germs. However they can be passed on by sex, either in the form of sexually transmitted diseases or by genetically passing down to offspring during fertilisation. A disease that is linked to being both hereditary and environmental is the neurodegenerative disease, Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that affects the nervous system of the body, specifically in the brain and spinal cord [2]. Every nerve cell in the body is surrounded by a protective layer known as the myelin sheath which enables electrical impulses that travel around the body to reach their destination hundreds of times quicker than it would without one. If a person has Multiple Scleroses, MS, then this myelin is broken down partly and therefore messages are not sent to the brain or spinal cord as efficiently. This results in a sufferer or MS to experience potential symptoms such as: loss of vision, in one eye usually, uncontrollable muscle spasms and muscle stiffness, difficulties in balance and co-ordination and people find they often suffer from tiredness and fatigue. There are two main types of Multiple sclerosis that sufferers get. The first, relapsing remitting MS, occurs in approximately eight out of ten people that are diagnosed with MS are diagnosed with this form. Somebody with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis will have periods without suffering any of the symptoms usually associated with the disease, then they will suffer periods where the symptoms are severe and the patient may become partially blind or be unable to move. However, this period will pass and the sufferer will go back to almost normal again without showing any signs or having the disease. This period may last weeks, months or even years and this is why diagnosing this type of MS is so hard to do because of how irregular it is it can be mistaken for a number of temporary conditions and people don’t report when they experience symptoms because they have “had them before and I was ok”. After 15 years of so, about half of people that have got relapsing remitting MS will go on to develop secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. This is much like the first form and people may still experience relapses but the symptoms will worsen over time and they may not fully recover from their relapse. Primary progressive MS is the least common type of sclerosis. This is where there are no periods of remission and symptoms just worsen over time with no break periods.

Treatments for multiple sclerosis:
Currently there is no cure for Multiple sclerosis but there are a number of treatments that can help [2]. Relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis can be treated with drugs called ‘disease modifying drugs’, these are not a cure for the disease but instead can reduce the severity of the symptoms in a sufferer and can reduce the number of relapses they have. However they are not suitable for all sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis. There are currently 10 licenced DMD’s (disease modifying drugs) [3] these are: Aubagio (teriflunomide) – oral tablet taken once a day. Available if patient has had at least two relapses in the past two years. Avonex (interferon beta-1a) – Injection available if patient has had two relapses in the past two years. Betaferon (interferon beta-1b) – available if patient has had two relapses in the past two years, it is injected. Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) – another injection available after two relapses in the same period of time. Extavia (beta interferon-1b) – injection if patient has has 2 relapses in 2 years. Gilenya (fingolimod) – available if patient is still experiences despite treatment with one of the beta interferons. It is an oral tablet taken once a day. Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) – available for treating the active relapsing remitting form of multiple sclerosis. It is given to patient via a drip once a year. Plegridy (peginterferon beta 1a) – injection for people living in Scotland for sufferers that have had 2 relapses in 2 years. Rebif (beta interferon- 1a) – another injection available for patients suffering 2 rela...

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