Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can walk, run, and even dance again following a new stem cell treatment that allows the immune system to be rebooted again. Doctors described the treatment as ‘miraculous’ as reported by The Sunday Times. However, there are still some dangerous factors to the treatment which involves intense chemotherapy and patients are advised to be physically fit.
The cause of MS is still unknown, however doctors believe that the culprit is the immune system attacking the brain and spinal cord leading to inflammation and pain, disability and in the worst cases, death.
The process of this new Stem Cell Treatment involves harvesting and storing the patients’ stem cells and the use of chemotherapy. Following the administration of chemotherapy, which is aimed to deplete the body’s immune system, those harvested stem cells are then infused back into the patients, giving the immune system a chance to regenerate and repair itself. A month after which, patients are starting to notice signs of recovery. The new therapy is called Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) and paired with intensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy so that patients can learn to walk again.
Professors Basil Sharrack, a neurologist, and John Snowden, a haematologist, reported the results in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
“Since we started treating patients some three years ago, some of the results we have seen have been miraculous,” said Sharrack to The Sunday Times. “This is not a word I would use lightly, but we have seen profound neurological improvements.”
“This is not a treatment suitable for everybody because it is very aggressive and patients need to be quite fit to withstand the effects of the chemotherapy,” he added.
The experiment involves two dozen patients taking part in trials at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield and Kings College, Hospital, London. One of the patients in the test named Sam Ramsey, 29, a former care assistant from Newark, Nottinghamshire, was the first UK patient to be treated. She was paralysed from the neck down by MS and had to use a ventilator to help her breathe.
“I was so ill I can barely remember being on a ventilator,” Ramsey said to the The Sunday Times. “But I can remember a couple of weeks after the transplant, my sister went running around the room when my fingers started to move again. As the days went by my toes started to wiggle. I was getting the feeling back in my limbs.”
Another patient, Holly Drewry, 25, of Sheffield, was wheelchair- bound after suffering from MS after the birth of her daughter.
“After the birth I went downhill really quickly and was in a wheelchair, barely able to feel my toes,” Drewry said to The Sunday Times, “It worked wonders. After three weeks, I called my mum and said, ‘I can stand!’ We were all crying. Now I can run a little bit, I can dance. I enjoy walking my daughter around the park in her pram.”
H/T: Telegraph UK