Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation as a treatment of multiple sclerosis
Rationale to do the transplantation:
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. Neuronal damage is cause by two processes which actually overlap – inflammation and degeneration. Immunoablation (destruction of the malfunctioning immune system) and auto transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells may destroy ‘bad’ cells that destroy neurons. The more inflammation is there in disease the more positive effect of the treatment can be expected. Most of the patients will observe improvement – sometimes going back few points in EDSS –however, not everyone will improve.
Does it work?
Yes it does. Read blog of George Goss who describes his experience with and after the treatment on his blog or here on blog of Carmel Turner. Also there is plenty of data confirming its efficacy – you can find most recent publications here. How good is it? When you consider the effects I would say as for 2012 there is no drug that could replicate the positive effects of transplantation. The results of HSCT are better than interferons and natalizumab. Moreover, after the transplantation no other treatment is required if the remission is achieved. However, the transplantation brings some risk, even the risk of death (<1% – depending on how advanced the MS is)
Who is eligible for treatment?
Patients with MS – usually centers will qualify the patients that either did not respond to previous therapies or have aggressive disease.
The treatment is now considered clinical options and is performed in many centers worldwide.
Very important information: Most of the countries in Europe have the centers that perform this treatment so there is possibility that it can be covered by insurance – look for it before you look for a center abroad. You can find some adresses on Geroge’s Blog. Also if you look at the authors of different publications found here you can see who comes from which university – and some of those universities might be located in your country.
If I am interested – how can I get this treatment?
I am not directly involved in treatment of any patients with MS right now. You have to look by yourself. Some help and information can be found here by HSCT for MS