Encouraging results have been drawn from a pioneering trial in which multiple sclerosis sufferers were treated with bone marrow stem cells.
The bone marrow was harvested from volunteers after the research team at the University of Bristol had given them general anaesthetic.
Later the same day the marrow cells were filtered and prepared for injection.
The procedure was "well tolerated", and the six participants, aged between 30 and 60, were followed up for a year. The results of the test scores were suggestive of "stable disease", the team found.
The possibilities raised by the trial, one of the first to battle MS with a patient's own bone marrow stem cells, are "tantalising", according to the Professor Neil Scolding, who led the study.
Prof Scolding, Burden Professor of Clinical Neurosciences, said: "We are encouraged by the results of this early study. We believe that stem cells mobilised from the marrow to the blood are responsible, and that they help improve disease in several ways, including neuroprotection and immune modulation."
A full report on the trial is published online in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.