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New MS Therapy Could 'Reverse Disease'

June 13, 2016

Research suggests that there is a radical treatment that can stop the progression of multiple sclerosis, it is said to even reverse the symptoms of the disease. What the therapy does is destroy the patient’s immune system and regenerate a new one by using the stem cells taken from their bone marrow.

24 people with a highly active relapsing form of MS engaged in a 13-year trial, 70% of these patients experienced a complete halt in their MS progression. 40% of patients had their symptoms like vision loss, balance problems and muscle weakness reversed for prolonged periods of time.

While the results are astonishing, experts have warned that the treatment could have serious risks and side effect, such as the threat of infection while patients are unprotected by an immune system. It has also been thought that the therapy will only be able to aid a small percentage of patients in their early stages of MS. Those who have had significant disabilities for an extended period of time are unlikely to benefit from this therapy.

A participant in the MS trial six years after her diagnosis, Jennifer Molson said, "Before my transplant, I was unable to walk or work and was living in assisted care. Now, I am able to walk independently, live in my own home and work full time.” She also said that she was able to get married, walk down the aisle with her dad and dance with her husband. She even added that she’s been able to go downhill skiing.

The treatment, IAHSCT (immunoablation and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation), as well as another similar procedure has been used for treating patients with leukemia for decades. Although, in the case of MS and because of all the risks that come along with the therapy, larger studies are needed in the future.