At last, independent researchers have endorsed autologous hematopoietic stem cell tranplantation (HSCT) as a treatment of choice for multiple sclerosis.
Well, treatment for relapsing MS, anyway.
The study “Autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation for neurological diseases” was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. In it, Swedish researchers, from Uppsala University, say autologous HSCT is superior to currently approved disease modifying therapies (DMTs).
On top of that, they say, in the study, that procedure’s safety profile has improved, and is now just as good as approved medications.
So far, so good. But, from my point of view, it is only a start. The report says that the benefits of stem cell transplants for patients with progressive MS is moderate at best.
I don’t agree with the suggestion that attempts to use HSCT to treat people with progressive MS should be limited to clinical trials. The treatment is more effective with the relapsing form, but it is also successful in tackling the progressive types.
Now, we need HSCT to be approved for treating MS by the FDA and regulatory bodies around the world. We have been waiting long enough.
No evidence of disease activity (NEDA) is now a serious indicator in studies of MS therapies. It is a comprehensive measure that takes into account disease activity in MRI scans, the presence of relapses and disability progression.
HSCT scores better at NEDA
A number of studies showed that 68 to 70 percent of patients maintained NEDA four to five years after HSCT. In comparison, of DMT patients treated at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, only 7.9 percent had NEDA at seven years.
Researchers noted that clinical trials or other studies of Tysabri or Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) found no improvements in patients’ health-related quality of life.
Meanwhile, one study of transplanted MS patients showed an improvement of nearly four times what is considered as a clinically meaningful improvement at two years. Improvements were in both physical and mental health.
- is superior to DMTs
- is as safe as DMTs
- achieves ‘no evidence of disease activity’ with more people and for longer than other therapies
What more do we need to know?
* * * * *
* * * * *
50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Clinical Writer with Healthline, the fastest growing health information site. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.