CCNE Accredits AUB's Nursing Programs  
Architecture Building and Science Lab Dedicayed in Name of Kamal Shair
Abu-Haidar Neuroscience Institute Opens
Imad Baalbaki Appointed Assistant Vice President for Development
AUB Establishes Virtual Instrumentation Center
Ziyadeh Appointed Chairman of Internal Medicine
Kibbi Joins ILDS Directors
Faculty Profile: Shadi Najjar
Faculty Profile: Daniel Asmar
Faculty Profile: Karim Nader
Asplante Honors Three AUB Professors
AUB Scientists Hope to Cure Diseases through Stem Cell Therapy
Concerns about Food and Nutrition
CRPH Win Wellcome Trust Grant
AUB Business School Set to Join Rank of Top 6 Percent in the Wolrd
Franklin Scholarship Awarded to 20 Students
Names of First batch of Franklin Scholars
Festival of Thinkers in the UAE
Project Manager Alain Eid Brings His Energy and Success to AUB
Staff Profile: Eleanor Aboussouan
An Urgent Call for Environmental Action
Lebanon's Oil Spill Revisited - 14 Months Later
AUB Hosts Meeting for Reconstruction of the South
Peruvian Diplomat Lectures at AUB
Political Science Lecture Examines Nonviolent Resistance
Iraqi Sociologist Speaks at Sociology Cafe
Learning to Teach: Mellon Summer Seminar 2007
School of Nursing Hosts Lecture on Ethics in Medicine
Volunteers at CCCL Learn about Patient Care
Physician Lectures on the Global Epidemic of Obesity
Award-winning Designer Lectures at AUB
German Architect Lectures on Contemporary Approaches to Landscape Design
JTP Equips Journalists with Survival and Management Skills
Human Rights Week Underscores Humanitarian Concerns
Recently Published
In Memoriam
Laila Baroody Awarded for Outstanding Service
Comic Posters Exhibited
Kulturzentrum Presents Opera Program in Assembly Hall
AUB Spring Concert Enthralls Audience with Early Italian Music
AUB Music Club Sells Out
November 2007 Vol. 9 No. 2

AUB Scientists Hope to Cure Diseases through Stem Cell Therapy

Dr. Yamout performing the procedure

Scientists at AUB have started a pioneering clinical trial to test bone marrow stem cell therapy on up to six individuals suffering from advanced multiple sclerosis (MS), a neurological disease with potentially debilitating effects.

The trial is among the first being carried out in the world, as part of an international effort that was initiated about a year ago, following successful animal trials. AUB professor and neuroscientist Bassem Yamout, who is a member of the European Charcot Foundation Expert Group on the use of human stem cells for treatment of multiple sclerosis, is leading the AUB trial which was launched on October 3. AUB Assistant Dean for Research Ali Bazarbachi and his team will be collaborating with Dr. Yamout on the experiment.

Yamout explained in detail the therapy process: "It took around one and a half hours, during which I injected more than one hundred million stem cells into the cerebrospinal fluid of the patient in the neck and low back area. This fluid bathes the spinal cord and brain and will carry the cells to the damaged areas, where they will hopefully help with the repair. The patient did very well with no complications and was discharged the following day," said Dr. Yamout.

If successful, this trial will have tremendous implications for other neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, stroke, and physical trauma to the spinal cord.

The AUB human trial was made on a 36-year-old male who has been suffering from multiple sclerosis since 1996 and has been wheelchair-bound since early 2006. "For the past 100 years, we have been trying to prevent or improve neurological diseases," said Dr. Yamout, "but for the first time, we hope to repair the damage already done."

Scientists discovered that stem cells could potentially reverse the damage caused by neurological diseases. Basically, each adult human body retains in certain organs original embryonic cells, known as stem cells, which have the potential to differentiate into any adult cell type. In the multiple sclerosis clinical trial, scientists at AUB extracted a certain amount of stem cells from an MS patient's bone marrow, grew them in the lab for four weeks, then re-injected them in the patient's lower back and neck into the cerebrospinal fluid of the central nervous system which is damaged from the disease. It is hoped that once those stem cells settle in the damaged areas, they will differentiate into new neural cells, replace damaged ones, and thus reverse any disability caused by the disease. Moreover, scientists also expect that these new neural cells will also secrete substances that will aid in repair.

The work of the AUB team, which helped in setting up the protocol needed for the human trials, represents one of the first scientifically-based stem cell therapeutic trials involving MS patients in the world. Patients participating in the trial will be monitored over a 12-month period, thus allowing scientists to detect any improvement.

"This clinical trial is certainly at the forefront of research in this field," said Yamout, who is also a member of the newly-inaugurated Abu-Haidar Neuroscience Institute, directed by Professor Rose-Mary Boustany.