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 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 My blood will be withdrawn through a catheter and circulated through a cell-separating machine.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.
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.
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.
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.