About HSCT

 

HSCT (Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation) is currently the only scientifically demonstrated treatment for Multiple Sclerosis that stops the underlying disease process and restores a healthy immune system.  This treatment has been performed since the 1960’s for cancers, and has been used to treat MS and other autoimmune disorders such as Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP), Crohn’s, Dermatomyositis, Devic’s, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, and many others over the last 15 years.  Clinical trials have been conducted in many countries, and stage III FDA trials are currently being conducted in Chicago.  Final FDA approval is expected by 2022.

HSCT repairs the immune system of people with MS and other immune disorders.
Many patients with autoimmune disorders bodies see myelin-producing cells as foreign matter and attack/injure the protective myelin sheath surrounding nerves in the central nervous system.

When HSCT is performed, the existing, dysfunctional immune system is purged using immunosuppressive chemotherapy. It is then reprogrammed by transplanting the patient’s own stem cells which have been cleared of  the T cells and B lymphocytes which were attacking the patient.  This results in a resetting of the immune system – one that no longer attacks itself.
***These are autologous stem cells, which are from the patients own body,  NOT embryonic stem cell***

For those who can not wait another decade for treatment, private HSCT procedures are being safely and successfully conducted at these very reputable hospitals:

•    Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany

•    Northwestern University Hospital, USA

•    Ottowa General Hospital, Canada

•    International Center for Cell Therapy & Cancer Immunology, Israel

•    Manipal Hospital, India

•    A.A Maximov Dept. Hematology & Cellular Therapy, Russia.

Dr. Fedorenko, in Russia has accepted me for treatment based on my medical information.

STEPS of HSCT:

Mobilization

Mobilization is the process of causing greater numbers of stem cells to be present in the blood stream in order to be collected.  For approximately four days (twice a day), I will be given injections to stimulate stem cell growth.

Apheresis (Collection of Stem Cells)

The collection of stem cells takes approximately two to four hours.  My blood will be withdrawn through a catheter and circulated through a cell-separating machine.  This machine separates and collects white blood cells, including the stem cells, along with a few red blood cells and platelets.  The remaining blood cells will be returned to my body.  There is only a small amount (several cups) of  blood in the separator machine at any one time.  The blood is returned at the same rate it is removed.   After the cells are collected, they are frozen and stored under special conditions until they are needed for my transplant.

Chemotherapy

Approximately four days of chemotherapy will be utilized to wipe out my existing immune system.  Daily blood work will determine when the immune system has been sufficiently “shut down” in preparation for my stem cell transplant.  At this point, I will be moved into isolation and only doctors and nurses will be permitted to enter my room.

Stem Cell Transplant

After the high-dose chemotherapy is completed, my own stem cells will be given back to me.  There are few side effects to this procedure.  It is very much like a blood transfusion.   The stored frozen cells will be thawed in warm water, and infused back into my body.

Engraftment

Approximately 10 – 12 days  following my transplant, my new immune system will show signs of growth in the bone marrow (engrafting) and will begin to produce new blood cells.  My ‘new’ immune system will have no memory of MS.    As my blood counts begin to rise, my white blood cells will start to fight and prevent infections.  Soon after this occurs, I will be released from the hospital.

Recovery

It takes an average of 12-18 months to see the complete benefits of this treatment, however, some patients have continued to see improvement for up to five years post-transplant.  In addition to halting the progression and activity of their MS, many HSCT patients see a reversal of some of their pre-existing symptoms.


6 Comments on “About HSCT”

  1. Jacquelyn Sherst says:

    Dear Nancy,

    I am an older mom with four children, three working/going to post secondary school to get on their feet and the younger one is still in high school.

    I am on disability as I can no longer work due to lesions on my spine (and a brainstem lesion as well).

    I have a nasty MS (not that any MS isn’t nasty…) that is targeting my cervical spine and upper thoracic spine. The brain stem lesion has already affected my breathing, swallowing ,hearing, balance – I get extreme vertigo at times.
    If it continues – it will almost be as if i have ALS as all the lesions keep targeting the same areas on my upper spine. (I was tested for NMO but I do not have the Aquaporin 4 marker so they figure I just have an atypical type of MS) so far is considered (RRMS),.
    I can’t afford to not work, (and the reality is if my brainstem lesion continues it may kill me), so really want to look into a HSCT. I would like most of all to go to the one in Russia but have no idea how to go about this. I don’t know how to do the fund raising either so would like to know how I could get on a wait list and suggestions as how to fund raise. I can scramble up some money but the whole amount is pretty scary.

    Thanks for any advice as I am pretty desperate.
    Jacquelyn

    Like

    • Dear Jacquelyn,
      I understand your desperation. MS robs us of everything we should be able to accomplish. Please join the main HSCT on Facebook (Hematopioetic Stem Cell Transplant – MS & Autoimmune Diseases), as well as the Russia (Russia HSCT for MS & Autoimmune Diseases) and Mexico (Russia HSCT for MS & Autoimmune Diseases) forum. Older people are treated.
      We are all hoping to stop the progression of our diseases. Even though life is difficult now, we know what is in our future if the disease continues. Please apply asap, as the waiting lists continue to grow. Fundraising is a challenge, but many people (including me) needed to fundraise. There are fundraising suggestions in the files section of the forums on Facebook as well.
      The email for Moscow is info@gemclinic.ru.
      Anastasia is the patient coordinator in Moscow. Anastasia’s email is: panchenkoak@mail.ru
      The email for Clinica Ruiz in Puebla, Mexico is: HSCT@clinicaruiz.com
      Please contact me if I can help you in any way.
      Nancy

      Like

  2. mary mc mahon says:

    Nancy, can i ask how how your treatment is costing. I am looking into going to chicago and the treatment is $150,000. i have rapid diffused scleroderma. Wishing you every success fr a healthy and happy future.
    Mary McMahon, IRELAND.

    Like

    • Mary,
      The cost to the hospital is significantly less, but you must factor in flights, visas, lodging, food essentials. I guess you have those no matter where you go. I would say, its approximately 1/3 less in Moscow. But you’ll be extremely well taken care of by doctors, nurses, and staff. There is a fb site that describes all the currently LEGITIMATE facilities. Hematopioetic Stem Cell Transplant – MS & Autoimmune Diseases. You can learn so much under the ‘files” section. Nancy

      Like

  3. ilona says:

    at what stage of the desease can this procedure be done ?

    Like

    • Ilona,
      The best results for HSCT are early in the disease progression. There is also a greater chance for the reversal of symptoms.
      Depending on the facility, there are different criteria for admission.
      Nancy

      Like


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