An interesting question about whether people would choose to have stem cell transplants if they were free was met with overwhelming support in a multiple sclerosis group on Facebook just four days ago.
But first, some caveats: there was nothing scientific about the sampling, it was 100% self-selecting; it was only a small group with 473 members; and those who gave opinions were somewhat limited in number. I am not trying to blow this out of proportion. It was not scientific but remains interesting. It should alse be noted that the question was asked in a general MS group – not one with any special link to stem cell treatments.
The question posed was: “If you were given a chance for free stem cell (therapy), would you? Why? Or why not? Explain.”
All answers, without exception, were positive. No-one said ‘No’.
Some replied ‘Yes’ but offered no reasoning but others did give some thoughts on the matter. Just take a look at these examples:
“Yes, depending how they are expanded!”
“Yeah to see if it works.”
“Sure why not? Help appreciated in any way.”
“Yes my husband did a year ago…it worked.”
“Yes I would! I’m not going to give up. God gave me this one body, I’ll keep trying my best at working to make it work ❤ to the best of my ability!!! I wish I knew where I could go in the US to have it done. I’d go!!!!
“In a heartbeat – other health permitting. The ‘why?’ is easy. The vast majority of people who have gone through it in places like Russia and Mexico have been delighted. Of course, there are risks but disease modifying drugs have serious risks too – just check out the worst side effects.
“My husband had HSCT1 with chemo. It was in Chicago. Before he suffered from heat exhaustion, no more. No more MS drugs. He still has balance issues but he was just about bedridden because he fell every minute. He can now play with our kids, before he couldn’t. It’s best to get it done early. So yes we are extremely happy.”
“Yes! If I don’t do something soon I’ll be completely paralyzed.”
“Yeah I’d try it what else could I lose?”2
So, there you go. A complete ‘Yes’ from everyone but do remember it is a very small group. Maybe one or more larger groups would be prepared to ask the same question.
1 HSCT or, more properly, aHSCT stands for Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation therapy. This involves harvesting a patient´s stem cells and cleaning them. The patient is then given chemotherapy to kill off faulty immune cells before the clean stem cells are reinjected to ‘reboot’ the immune system.
2 As with any medical treatment (and that includes disease modifying drugs) there is always a degree of risk. However, this would be discussed with a patient before going ahead with the therapy.