MS treatment that 'resets' immune system may halt disease fo
In a new study, led by Imperial College London, the treatment prevented symptoms of severe disease from worsening for five years, in 46 per cent of patients. However, as the treatment involves aggressive chemotherapy, the researchers stress the procedure carries significant risk.

The treatment in the current study, called autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT), was given to patients with advanced forms of the disease that had failed to respond to other medications.The study, published in the journal JAMA Neurology, suggested some patients even saw a small improvement in their symptoms following the treatment. The one-off treatment aims to prevent the immune system from attacking the nerve cells. All immune system cells are made from stem cells in the bone marrow. In the treatment, a patient is given a drug that encourages stem cells to move from the bone marrow into the blood stream, and these cells are then removed from the body.

The patient then receives high-dose chemotherapy that kills any remaining immune cells. The patient’s stem cells are then transfused back into their body to re-grow their immune system. Previous studies have suggested this ‘resets’ the immune system, and stops it from attacking the nerve cells.However, because the treatment involves aggressive chemotherapy that inactivates the immune system for a short period of time, some patients died from infections. Out of the 281 patients who received the treatment in the study, eight died in the 100 days following the treatment. Older patients, and those with the most severe forms of the disease, were found to have a higher risk of death.

http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_20-2-2017-17-40-27
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