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Americans with Multiple Sclerosis Are Traveling to Russia for Treatment

October 5, 2017

An experimental treatment for MS known as HSCT is available in North America, but it’s more accessible and less expensive in Russia.

Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) is a therapy for MS that has, in many cases, been shown to halt progression of the disease with a single treatment.
However, in North America, the procedure is still considered experimental and isn’t widely available. It’s also costly. For individuals facing a potential lifetime of MS, the allure of a cure abroad is tantalizing.

According to Bruce Bebo, executive vice president of research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, HSCT treatment is promising. But he cautions there still aren’t enough rigorous clinical studies on it to weigh the real risks and benefits.
HSCT is a complex procedure that requires a bone marrow transplant similar to that used by oncologists for certain blood cancers.

The treatment is an attempt to “reboot” the immune system and stop it from attacking the brain and spinal cord.

“One way to think about it is that you are reeducating and creating a new immune system,” Bebo told Healthline. “It appears that in many cases when you do this, that new immune system learns that the central nervous system isn’t dangerous anymore and it doesn’t attack it anymore.”

How Does it Work? Read More at HealthLine