Multiple Sclerosis and Stem Cell Group

Organisation profile

Organisation profile

The Multiple Sclerosis and Stem Cell Research Group is part of the University of Bristol's Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, based at the Burden Centre at Frenchay Hospital. Our research activities centre on the underlying cell biology of multiple sclerosis,  the development and implementation of myelin repair treatments, and understanding mechanisms of neurodegeneration.


Our research focuses on the underlying pathology of MS and the slowing or reversal of these pathologies.

Stem cells, with their significant potential for replication, provide a possible tool in slowing, halting or even reversing MS pathology. We work predominantly with adult human multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) derived from bone marrow. MSCs have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of MS, but their mechanism of action are not fully understood.  Possible mechanisms include release of trophic factors, cell to cell interactions, fusion with host cells, vesicle formation, differentiation into new cells and immunomodulation. We collaborate with colleagues within and beyond Bristol; for example, Professor David Wraith (University of Bristol Department of Pathology and Microbiology) to investigate ways to manipulate the immune system in the hope that new treatments can be developed.

We are also researching the cause of axon loss in the disease exploring several observations on axon dysfunction and translating these into the development of new therapies for chronic disease progression.

We are also interested in the mechanisms by which human bone marrow derived stem cells may protect cerebellar neurons from degeneration and are extending these observations in models of Friedreich's ataxia. We are interested in the potential of these cells as a therapy for a variety of ataxic conditions. We are also looking into Induced Pluripotent stem cells as a tool for further research and possible therapy.

Our clinical research within the lab focuses on the causes of disability in chronic MS; we also collect samples from patients for research to explore both the brain and the immune system and how they respond to MS disease processes and to different treatments.

How to find us

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Southmead Hospital site map - Learning & Research (PDF, 314kB)



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