New research provides further evidence of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation as an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis, after finding the procedure halted disease progression for 5 years in almost half of patients.
However, [Dr. Paolo Muraro, of the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London,] warn that further trials are needed to determine the efficacy and safety of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT)….
In AHSCT, a patient’s own stem cells are harvested. The patient is then subject to high-dose chemotherapy to eliminate any diseased cells. Next, the harvested stem cells are returned to the patient’s bloodstream…In simple terms, AHSCT “resets” the immune system.
Overall, the researchers found that 46 percent of patients experienced no disease progression in the 5 years after treatment…Additionally, patients experienced small improvements in MS symptoms after AHSCT.
While these findings show promise for the use of AHSCT for patients with MS, the team notes that there were eight deaths in the 100 days after AHSCT, which were thought to have been treatment related.
[The study can be found here.]
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