April 20, 2018

Stem cell treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS)

There are over 100,000 people in the UK who suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS).The majority of patients present with a relapse-remission pattern of the disease; however, more than 80% will progress to develop disability, with 40% of patients requiring a wheelchair 10 years after diagnosis.

Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (AHCST) is being used as an alternative treatment for patients with relapse-remission MS. During this treatment your stem cells are harvested from your body before resetting your immune system and reinfusing your stem cells. This process encourages your immune system to stop attacking itself and the stem cells to repair the damage that has already been done.

London Bridge Hospital is pleased to offer AHCST to MS patients who meet the acceptance criteria to undergo this treatment.

AHSCT process

  1. Cell collection - we encourage the growth of your stem cells through the use of chemotherapy followed by injections of a growth factor (G-CSF), which will be given daily for 10 days to stimulate your stem cell production. Stem cells are then harvested from your body and are sent to a specialist laboratory to be frozen.
  2. Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation - you will be admitted to the Hospital as an inpatient, where you will stay while undergoing your treatment. At first you will receive a high dose of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, which will take six days to complete. Your harvested stem cells are then thawed and reinfused into your body. After reinfusion the stem cells find their way back to your bone marrow to repopulate this as well as your immune system. You will be monitored to track the recovery of your blood cells and will be discharged when it is medically safe for you to be at home - this usually takes around three weeks.
  3. After the transplant - after discharge you will continue to be closely monitored through regular blood tests and scans. A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) will be on hand to provide any support or answer any quesitons you may have.

How does stem cell treatment for MS work?

Find out more about MS and the process of the Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.

Criteria for treatment

You must meet the following criteria to be eligible for treatment:

  • Aged 18-65
  • A firm diagnosis of MS (using the McDonald's criteria) within the last 15 years
  • If you have relapsing MS, documentation to show that treatment with one of the high efficacy disease modifying drugs has been unsuccessful
  • If you have primary, progressive MS (PPMS), a lumbar puncture confirming oligoclonal bands within the spinal fluid
  • Mobility score (EDSS) between 0-6.5 (with or without bilateral assistance, such as two sticks or a rollator frame)
  • Active MS as defined by an MRI showing one enhancing lesion after being off steroids for one month or two or more new T2 lesions within the last 12 months compared to a comparative scan that was done within the last 2 to 3 years
  • Approval from the London MS-AHSCT Collaborative Group

Contact us

If you would like to know more about Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for MS contact us today.

020 7089 2017
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