A new treatment that is currently in development could help some patients afflicted by multiple sclerosis according to a recent study. The study notes that one stem cell transplant could lead to a dramatic improvement, hampering the progress of the disease in the long run.
According to official statistics over 75% of the patients that took drugs during a five-year period felt worse as time passed. In the case of a stem transplant, less than 10% of the patients felt worse after the same period of time.
The procedure could have a positive impact for many of the approximately 2.3 million people that are fighting the disease around the world. Two women that battled the disease for several years were recently interviewed by a well-known news channel. Many of the drugs that are currently available today are either very expensive or have serious and often debilitating side effects.
The women decided to apply for a clinical trial that involved the new treatment and the effects seem to be quite positive. One of them was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive type of multiple sclerosis, called relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. In her case the disease manifested in the form of random episodes that could appear in the middle of important activities. She took a cocktail of different drugs but the disease only got worse.
Unlike most disease multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune affliction which occurs when the body harms itself by damaging the myelin layer that surrounds and protects nerve cells. When those layers become severely damaged the nerves begin to degenerate at an accelerated rate, leading to a large variety of symptoms, including fatigue, general weakness and vision problems.
The treatment involves several stages. At first, stem cells are collected from the patients. The body is then exposed to a high-amount of chemotherapy in order to effectively reset the immune system. The stem cells are then injected and help the body and immune system to recover at an accelerated rate. They both felt better after the treatment and the trial was seen as a success.
While the treatment seems effective more trials will be needed in order to prove its efficacy and long-lasting effects.