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This May Be a Good Time to Have Multiple Sclerosis

Cutting-edge research and new technologies raise the hopes of blogger Mona Sen, who lives with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis. But research discoveries take time to reach clinical practice, and not all doctors are on board to try them.

I am fortunate to be a part of this time in history. After all, who knows? A cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) might be around the corner. As the world changes — with new generations, new technology, and new discoveries — so do I. But it is hard to keep up with all these changes, and it is hard not to feel left behind.

I call this rapid change going on around us “the shift.”

Advances in Other Diseases May Have Applications for MS

All the changes I mentioned, particularly those occurring in medicine, affect many of us with MS. I completed graduate school at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 2007, and as an alumna, I now get the school’s monthly magazine, called Outlook.

This month the magazine unpacked scientific discoveries behind major diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. After reading the article, I was left with the distinct impression that some of the new discoveries in cancer research might have applications for MS. Currently, there are several crossover medications used for both cancer and MS.

It’s interesting that certain medications can address both conditions.

A few years ago, a friend’s 25-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. She underwent a stem cell transplant and is now cancer-free. Some people with MS have also undergone similar procedures, replacing their immune system through the use of targeted stem cell treatments. In this way new technologies are shifting our knowledge of disease.

New and Experimental Treatments Take Time to Reach Us

Although my neurologist is a well-respected clinician, he is not part of this new generation of movers and shakers in current medicine. Chronologically, he is a step behind. When I ask him about the possibility of being part of a stem cell study, I am always taken aback by his skepticism.

I understand his desire for caution, since in this shift not all studies are grounded in his view of ethics. Also, medical knowledge and research takes a while to filter down to all of us. Regardless, we should take responsibility to stay abreast of the shift, including new discoveries.

Read on: This May Be a Good Time to Have Multiple Sclerosis

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