Opinions are divided over suitability of stem cell transplants as treatment for progressive MS

panorama Hallamshire%20web%20ready ms-trust-logo          From left: BBC programme Panorama, Royal Hallamshire Hospital; and Multiple Sclerosis Trust.

Great interest was stirred up, quite predictably, by Panorama programme Can you stop my Multiple Sclerosis? broadcast on January 20. That followed four patients with relapsing remitting MS as they underwent Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (AHCST or HCST) therapy at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, in Yorkshire, UK. See my earlier blog post Can Multiple Sclerosis be stopped? Maybe some can at https://50shadesofsun.com/?p=1347 for more details.

Afterwards, some asked whether the stem cell treatment would also work for people with primary or secondary progressive MS.

Opinions seem divided. The people behind the treatment featured on BBC’s Panorama say: “Unfortunately the trials performed to date show that AHSCT does not work as well in primary and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. In view of this data, at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust we are only treating people with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis.”

However, writing on The MS Trust’s Facebook page, Gwen Higgs gave a different answer to that question. She wrote: “HSCT absolutely works for progressive MS! I had successful HSCT for my PPMS eighteen months ago.” Then Gwen added these links: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hsctppms/?ref=bookmarks and https://www.facebook.com/groups/ukhsct/?ref=bookmarks

On its website, the Multiple Sclerosis Trust was a little more cautious, saying that AHSCT could work for those with the progressive variants of the illness and published a blog by Jane of its Information Team. In that, she looks at some of the research so far, what’s possible now and where we might expect to see further progress in the future.

Answering the question ‘does AHSCT work for progressive MS?’, Jane says: “Sometimes it does, although it seems to work well only if your MS has a mix of progression with inflammatory activity.” Read more here: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/news/views-and-comments/could-stem-cell-therapy-work-progressive-ms

Looks like it is another case of ‘wait and see’!