UK scientists will embark on three new studies to test whether stem cells can be safely used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS).
The MS Society has provided £1m in joint funding to researchers who hope to slow, stop or reverse the damage caused to the brain and spinal cord in people with the disease.
One trial will involve 150-200 people in countries including Italy, the US and Canada.
Scientists in Edinburgh and London, including Dr Paolo Muraro from Imperial College London, will take stem cells from the bone marrow of 13 people with MS, grow them in the laboratory and re-inject them into the bloodstream.
The stem cells will make their way to the brain, where it is hoped they will repair the damage caused by MS.
“Stem cells hold tremendous potential as a future treatment option for people with MS,” said MS Society chief executive Simon Gillespie. “We are delighted to be funding this world-leading research, which shows the power of an international research collaboration and joint working between charities.”