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The trial, involving scientists in Colorado, the United Kingdom and Italy, infused stem cells taken from the brain of a fetus that had died in a miscarriage into 15 Italian patients who already had significant disabilities caused by multiple sclerosis. In the year after the infusions, the patients’ multiple sclerosis didn’t get worse, and they didn’t have severe side effects from the stem cells.

It will take a bigger trial with a comparison group that didn’t receive the treatment to know whether the stem cells truly slowed down the disease’s progression, though, said Angelo D’Alessandro, a professor at CU’s Anschutz Medical Campus.