Multiple Sclerosis suddenly became a lot more manageable thanks to a study conducted by Canadian researchers in Ottawa. The combination of chemotherapy and stem cell transplants can now create an entirely new, healthy immune system for those who suffer from MS.
The test studied 24 Canadians with MS, each between 18 and 50 years old with an early form of aggressive MS, and 23 of them didn’t suffer a relapse after the treatment. Seventy per cent of the patients didn’t even demonstrate MS symptoms 3 years after the treatment, which is practically a miracle. In some cases, patients even improved.
The director of the Regenerative Medicine Program and the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research at the Ottawa Health Research Institute said that “everyone is hesitating to use the ‘c word,’ but these patients are cured.” Most of the patients don’t even use long-term medication anymore.
Although the treatment is considered to be very aggressive, it has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for people suffering from MS. Chemo would erase the host’s self-destructive immune system while a stem cell transplant (taken from the patient’s bone marrow) would then help to rebuild a healthier immune system. Testing on a bigger level is still needed, but this study offers a flicker of hope.
“It still appears like a miracle to me to see patients recover, and get back to the things that they were supposed to do in life,” said Dr. Harry, the lead author of the study. “It is very rewarding to see and it wasn’t what we expected, and we are overjoyed about it to know this treatment can help people in that way.”
Twenty million people around the world (100,000 of which are Canadians) cope with the way MS destroys the body’s motor skills and breaks down the brain and spine’s protection. This new treatment, as aggressive as it is, could be well worth the risk in the long run. Looks like science made the world a better place yet again.