Over the last several years, studies involving the use of HSCT (Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation) as a treatment for multiple sclerosis have been coming to a point where we can see the efficacy of the treatment. Many people are calling it a cure. There certainly are exciting improvements for the brave patients who survive the treatments.
Currently, HCST requires that the patient undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy to destroy or severely suppress the immune system, so that it can be regenerated through the use of stem cells. This process creates great risk, including a 20% chance of death, usually by opportunistic infection that occurs before the immune system has regrown.
How wonderful would it be if patients didn’t have to endure chemotherapy or the vulnerable state in which it leaves them? Stanford University researchers think they may have found a way.
Their researchers created antibodies that can latch onto malfunctioning blood stem cells and flag them up to “waste disposal” cells, known as macrophages, whose job it is to eat up harmful material in the body. The treatment completely clears the way for transplanted blood stem cells from a healthy donor to take up residence in the bone marrow and generate a whole new blood and immune system.
“If it works in humans like it did in mice, we would expect that the risk of death from blood stem cell transplant would drop from 20 per cent to effectively zero,” Dr. Judith Shizuru, professor of medicine at Stanford.
Even better, the effects of this discovery are so far-reaching that one doctor said, “There is almost no category of disease or organ transplant that is not impacted by this research.” It could make organ transplants safer as well as decimate any disease caused by the patient’s own blood and immune cells, including blood cancers with a one-time treatment.
So long, Addisons Disease. See ya, Celiac. Buh-bye, Arthritis. Lupus, Dermatomyositis, Graves disease, Hashimoto thyroiditis, Myasthenia gravis, Pernicious anemia, Sjögren syndrome, Type I diabetes, and Leukemia, all y’all can hit the road.
MS, your days are numbered.
Rachael Shapiro Majka is a writer, health advocate, and stay-at-home mom who loves to cook, make music, and foster kittens. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music and a juris doctor from Southwestern Law School. Diagnosed with MS in May of 2007 (which caused her to develop seizure disorder), she chronicles her quest to live the best life possible on the blog In It For The Parking and keeps up a popular Pinterest board of paleo recipes called the Paleo Compendium. She can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.
You may also enjoy reading other articles by Rachael: 5 Ways To Make Your Home MS Friendly, Having The Best Sex Possible With Multiple Sclerosis and Cinnamon Helps To Suppress Symptoms.