Cancer treatment for MS patients gives 'remarkable' results

Seanko

Well-Known Member
Interesting story BBC running on treatment for MS which uses chemotherapy to destroy damaged immune cells and then replaces them with stem cells harvested from the patient's blood. It is a maybe analogous to the way in which Rituximab reboots the immune system in some ME/CFS patients.

Cancer treatment for MS patients gives 'remarkable' results

[article]UK doctors in Sheffield say patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are showing "remarkable" improvements after receiving a treatment usually used for cancer.
About 20 patients have received bone marrow transplants using their own stem cells. Some patients who were paralysed have been able to walk again.
Prof Basil Sharrack, of Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital, said: "To have a treatment which can potentially reverse disability is really a major achievement."
Immune system 'rebooted'

The treatment - known as an autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) - aims to destroy the faulty immune system using chemotherapy.
It is then rebuilt with stem cells harvested from the patient's own blood. These cells are at such an early stage they've not developed the flaws that trigger MS.
Prof John Snowden, consultant haematologist at Royal Hallamshire Hospital, said: "The immune system is being reset or rebooted back to a time point before it caused MS."
About 20 MS patients have been treated in Sheffield in the past three years. Prof Snowden added: "It's clear we have made a big impact on patients' lives, which is gratifying."
Steven Storey was diagnosed with MS in 2013 and, within a year, went from being an able-bodied athlete to needing a wheelchair and losing sensation in much of his body.
He said: "I went from running marathons to needing 24-hour acute care. At one point I couldn't even hold a spoon and feed myself."
Within a few days of the transplant he was able to move his toes, and after four months he could stand unaided.
Steven still needs a wheelchair but is astounded at his progress: "It's been incredible. I was in a dire place, but now I can swim and cycle and I am determined to walk."
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Seanko

Well-Known Member
[article]Cost-effective
The Royal Hallamshire Hospital - together with hospitals in the United States, Sweden and Brazil - is part of an international trial, MIST, which is assessing the long-term benefits of the stem cell transplant.
All those on the trial have relapsing remitting MS, where patients experience attacks - or relapses - followed by periods of remission.
The treatment involves intensive chemotherapy, so patients are warned that there are side-effects such as nausea and hair loss.
Paul Kirkham, another MS patient, said he was glad to have had the transplant but added: "It does knock you. I'd rather have done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson."
The transplant involves a one-off cost of around £30,000, which is comparable to the yearly cost of some MS treatments.
Because the procedure involves no new drugs and instead re-purposes an existing therapy using the patient's own cells, there is little profit incentive for drug companies to get involved.
Prof Richard Burt, Northwestern University, Chicago carried out the first HSCT for MS as long ago as 1995 and is coordinating the international trial which began in 2006.
He said: "There has been resistance to this in the pharma and academic world. This is not a technology you can patent and we have achieved this without industry backing."
A study published last year involving MS patients in Chicago showed significant reductions in neurological disability, and for some the improvements persisted for at least four years, although there was no comparative control group.
The outcome of the more detailed MIST trial - which will report in a couple of years - could determine whether the stem cell transplant becomes a standard NHS treatment for many MS patients.
Dr Emma Gray, head of clinical trials at UK's MS Society , said: "Ongoing research suggests stem cell treatments such as HSCT could offer hope, and it's clear that in the cases highlighted by Panorama they've had a life-changing impact.
"However, trials have found that while HSCT may be able to stabilise or improve disability in some people with MS it may not be effective for all types of the condition."
Dr Gray said people should be aware it was an "aggressive treatment that comes with significant risks", but called for more research into HSCT so there could be greater understanding of its safety and long term effectiveness.[/article]
 

Seanko

Well-Known Member
A programme about the treatment is on BBC1 Monday 19 January at 8.30pm. (I'll check if it a copy is "available" for viewers outside the Uk in the coming days)
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
A programme about the treatment is on BBC1 Monday 19 January at 8.30pm. (I'll check if it a copy is "available" for viewers outside the Uk in the coming days)
Wow

Promising and yet this

Because the procedure involves no new drugs and instead re-purposes an existing therapy using the patient's own cells, there is little profit incentive for drug companies to get involved.

really points out a problem. If drug companies can't get a profit then trials are stalled. There has to be a way to get around this.
 

ScottTriGuy

Active Member
Wow

Promising and yet this

Because the procedure involves no new drugs and instead re-purposes an existing therapy using the patient's own cells, there is little profit incentive for drug companies to get involved.

really points out a problem. If drug companies can't get a profit then trials are stalled. There has to be a way to get around this.
When people come ahead of profits.

When multi-national corporations stop behaving like profit-only sociopaths.
 

Seanko

Well-Known Member
Because the procedure involves no new drugs and instead re-purposes an existing therapy using the patient's own cells, there is little profit incentive for drug companies to get involved. really points out a problem. If drug companies can't get a profit then trials are stalled. There has to be a way to get around this.
Yes, highlights the need for government funding in the US & Europe. There could be treatments out there for neurological & immunological illnesses which simply need a bit of tweaking for ME/CFS use with the magic ingredients of money & time. Norway is the prime example, where patient groups got the ear of government.

In Britain the research funding model has been the ME/CFS charities providing funds for small scale pilot studies then the government Medical Research Council providing larger funds. (The CMRC was set up to co-ordinate this a bit better as it comprises the charities + government research)
 

Strike me lucky

Well-Known Member
It sounds very similar to what they have been doing in Russia for over 20years. Was a documentary in australia a few years ago of an Australian woman who traveled to Russia for chemo and stem cell treatment and it was also showing how it wasnt available locally but has been standard treatment in russia for many years.
 

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