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Study: MS patients find hope in stem cell transplants

It is estimated that 2.3 million people throughout the world suffer from multiple sclerosis, according to Healthline. For people in Maryland, MS is a disabling condition that affects a person's nerve cells. It is uncertain what causes the condition and the symptoms that people experience may include loss of vision, fatigue, paralysis, numbness, muscle spasms and stiffness, dysfunctional bladder, memory issues and problems with language. However patients may find hope in a new stem cell transplant therapy.

In a new study, medical professionals looked at the disability measurements of 151 people who were given a stem cell transplant over four years ago. Out of this group, Healthline states that 80 percent of the patients have not experienced any relapse of their symptoms. One patient, for whom the therapy appears to have been successful, states that she struggled with severe fatigue. The drug she was on did not prevent her from having relapses of the condition and as a result, she was unable to engage in daily activities such as walking, using a glass to drink from, holding a toothbrush and writing.

Currently, only people who qualify for the stem cell transplant under compassionate use, or who volunteer for a clinical trial, can receive the therapy. Before the stem cells are inserted, the medical team exposed the patients to low-dose chemotherapy to reduce their immune system. This allowed the system to be rebooted by the stem cells, which come from the patient's blood. The transplant is only recommended for patients who are on a disease modifying therapy drug and are still experiencing relapses. It is not recommended to people in the secondary progressive stage of the condition.

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