There's a potential new treatment for people with severe cases of multiple sclerosis, according to a new research. The new treatment involves removing stem cells from the patients' blood, killing the cells that are working against the body's immune system and then returning the healthy cells back to the body. The hope is that these stem cells will eventually reconstitute into healthy immune system cells and the disease process can be stopped.
For the study, 26 people with severe MS underwent this treatment, which is called autologous stem cell transplantation. Their results were followed for an average of 1 year. Conventional treatments had previously been unsuccessful for all of the patients, either because they had no improvement or were not able to tolerate the side effects. 16 of the patients had tried multiple treatments with no success. After the stem cell transplant, 24 patients were stable, with no change in their amount of disability. Seven patients showed some degree of mild improvement in some measures.
At one year after the transplant, only 3 patients had new brain lesions, which are a result of MS disease activity. Only 2 of the patients have needed to take MS disease-modifying drugs since the transplant, Kraft said. Researchers said the treatment needs to be studied on more patients to confirm its effectiveness and studies are also needed to determine its long-term effect.