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Stem cell treatment halts MS progression in 91% of patients


Stashed in: Science!, Medicine, Health Studies, Interesting Tidbits, Stem Cells

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Immune diseases are some of the scariest ones to me, because the body attacks itself. I'm proud to live in one of the relatively few American states that unequivocally voted for MORE stem cell research.

Yes!

The process is fascinating and the results show promise:

The three-month-long procedure started with a treatment known as high-dose immunosuppressive therapy (HDIT), coupled with various forms of chemotherapy in some of the patients, which completely wiped out their natural immune systems. Then, over the course of four years between 2006 and 2010, they received transplants of millions of stem cells that had been harvested from their own blood to rebuild their immune systems. The patients spent up to four weeks in hospital waiting for their new immune systems to take effect before they returned home.

It was hoped that, unlike their now-destroyed, original immune systems, their new, ‘rebooted’ immune systems wouldn’t accidentally target the patients’ myelin, and this would stop the progression of MS in its tracks. According to the paper published in JAMA Neurology, that’s exactly what occurred, in the vast majority of the patients. The researchers report that three years after completing the treatment, 86 percent of the volunteers have avoided relapses, and almost 91 percent have so far shown no signs of their MS progressing.

As you've probably sensed, Adam, rebooting is one of the few IT skills that I have mastered, and usually desperately executed! But rebooting it is, and an especially appropriate metaphor for treating brain disorders.

ronald hayes

Well said, Ron.

I believe that rebooting is also the theme of Jill Bolte Taylor's TED Talk:

http://pandawhale.com/post/20977/nothing-stays-the-same-life-regularly-changes-things-up-on-you-jill-bolte-taylor-stroke-of-insight-ted-talk

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