Mice crippled by an autoimmune disease similar to multiple sclerosis regained the ability to walk and run after a team of researchers led by scientists at UC Irvine, the Scripps Research Institute and University of Utah implanted human stem cells into their injured spinal cords. The mice started walking a couple of weeks after implantation, and they completely recovered over the next several months, according to the researchers. Thomas Lane, an immunologist at the University of Utah who started the work when he was at UC Irvine, had never seen anything like it. “We’ve been studying mouse stem cells for a long time, but we never saw the clinical improvement that occurred,” said Lane, who had received a $4.8 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to support the work. The mice’s dramatic recovery, which is reported online ahead of print by the journal Stem Cell Reports, could lead to new ways to treat multiple sclerosis in humans. “This is a great step forward in the development of new therapies for stopping disease progression and promoting repair for MS patients,” said co-author Craig Walsh, a UC Irvine immunologist.