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Radical treatment gives MS patient his life back

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    Radical treatment gives MS patient his life back
    A new stem cell treatment has saved the life of a young Australian with multiple sclerosis, but MS Australia still warns the procedure is "experimental".

    Wow. You would think something like this would have received more press coverage. Promising news.


      If they show that this is a lasting cure and can repeat this on several other patients, this would be a very important treatment for MS. What they did was to take bone marrow from the patient, do myeloablation (used chemotherapy to destroy his bone marrow) and then re-infused the bone marrow cells back in. This presumes that the cells that are making antibodies against the central nervous system myelin are not in the sample of bone marrow removed. Therefore, when the bone marrow repopulates from the smaller sample of cells obtained, it may be free of the cells that are attacking the myelin, thereby curing him.



        The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, a large treatment clinic affiliated with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, (The Hutch) has been conducting stem cell transplants for some time on MS patients in a clinical trial setting.

        In 2008, while I was in Seattle, I learned that this treatment was showing promising results. Though, patients with MS were not cured, the progression of their disease was halted. The effect of the transplant was characterized as similar to pushing the "reset" button on an electronic device.

        Kudos to these Australians for attempting the procedure in this case of "rapid onset" MS. I don't know anymore about the status of the clinical trial being conducted at the SCCA. However, I can say that an autologous stem cell transplant is fairly safe and tolerable. On the other hand, it's expensive, approximately $250,000.

        "Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence." Lin Yutang


          My mother has a friend with MS who was in a study at City of Hope where they did bone marrow transplant on 10 patients with RRMS. 2 in the study died (this is a very risky procedure), but my mother's friend had nearly a complete remission of her MS. She was using a power wheelchair, and now is hiking in the mountains (8 years after the study). MS is a funny disease with unexplained exacerbations and remissions for most people, but her success was spectacular. Of course larger studies are needed, and hopefully with less risky procedures, but it certainly is promising.

          The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.