Multiple sclerosis is a disabling disease that damages the brain and central nervous system. It affectspeople between the ages of 15 and 60 and can run in families.
One treatment has recently shown promise in reversing the disease.
According to a new study published in The Lancet, a combination of chemotherapy and stem cell therapy could very well be the key to reversing multiple sclerosis.
The study was conducted over a period of seven years. Twenty-four multiple sclerosis patients all saw significant reversal of the disease’s effects thanks to this new form of therapy..
As reported by The Telegraph, the therapy involves getting stem cells inside patients’ bone marrow to migrate to the bloodstream. From there, doctors can access the stem cells, purify them and store them in a frozen lab.
Next, the doctors eradicate patients’ immune systems using chemotherapy. Once this process is completed, the harvested stem cells are transplanted back into patients’ bone marrow, which essentially grants them a fresh immune system.
This new treatment for multiple sclerosis came about when researchers started looking at the condition as an autoimmune disease rather than a neurodegenerative one.
That change in focus proved to be worth it, as 24 patients in the study saw a reversal of multiple sclerosis symptoms.
The symptoms that were reversed included loss of vision, balance and muscle weakness.
One patient in the study named Jennifer had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996.
She went from living in a hospital under 24-hour care before the study to ditching her wheelchair and living completely unassisted.
Researcher Dr. Mark Freedman commented on Jennifer’s progress:
“Jennifer — She freaked me out one day when she came to the clinic wearing high heels. This was a girl who could barely walk.”
Jennifer Molson, now 41, was diagnosed with MS at the age of 21. (Photo: CBC)
It should be noted that this treatment is, of course, not without risks. Chemotherapy is incredibly taxing on the body. One patient involved in the study died of liver failure as a result of the treatment.
Dr. Emma Gray, head of clinical trials at the Multiple Sclerosis Society, said:
“This treatment does offer hope, but it’s also an aggressive procedure that comes with substantial risks and requires specialist aftercare. If anyone is considering HSCT, we’d recommend they speak to their neurologist.”
What do you think about this new multiple sclerosis treatment? Let us know in the comments!