Stem Cell Research Leading to Advances for MS


June 9, 2016 (Ottawa) The results of an important Canadian research study has been published in the Lancet, one of the world’s most respected medical journals. The multi-year study demonstrated that chemotherapy and blood stem cells can be used to eliminate all signs of brain inflammation in people with early, aggressive MS, and facilitate lasting recovery. This important research was led by Drs. Harold Atkins and Mark S. Freedman, both from The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa.

“As an active member of the Stem Cell Network family, Dr. Atkins has long supported SCN’s training and education programs aimed at the next generation of stem cell researchers,” said Dr. Michael Rudnicki Scientific Director of the Stem Cell Network. “Both he and Dr. Freedman are innovative health research leaders and their work to harness stem cells for the treatment of auto-immune diseases, specifically MS is exemplary.”

The Stem Cell Network is co-hosted by The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa. SCN has a mission to act as a catalyst for enabling the translation of stem cell research into clinical applications, commercial products and public policy. It recently received an additional $12 million from the federal government to continue its support of Canadian stem cell research and training. SCN is now moving quickly to ensure the new research funding dollars are put to work in labs across Canada.

The $6.47 million trial was funded by the MS Society of Canada and its affiliated Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation. The research was also supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, The Ottawa Hospital Department of Medicine and Canadian Blood Services. The full news release about the study can be found here.


Cate Murray
Director, Communications & External Affairs