Stem cell transplants might help some people with multiple sclerosis.
Stem cell transplants may halt the progression of aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS) in nearly half of those with the debilitating disease, but picking the right patients for the treatment is key, a new study suggests.
Specifically, younger patients with a relapsing form of MS who were not severely disabled and who hadn’t found relief with other treatments fared better than others over five years, the international team of researchers found.
However, in some cases the treatment proved fatal, the researchers reported.
“Stem cell transplantation cannot be considered a cure for MS. However, it can be considered a concrete option for patients showing aggressive MS who have not responded to approved treatments,” said study co-author Dr. Riccardo Saccardi. He’s from the cell therapy and transfusion medicine unit at Careggi University Hospital in Florence, Italy.
In fact, nearly 3 percent of the patients died shortly after receiving the transplant, and those deaths were directly related to the transplant, the researchers reported.
Those deaths are a major concern, one neurologist said, because MS is not in itself life-threatening.
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