Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease.
HSCT or Hematopioetic Stem Cell Transplant is now a scientifically proven treatment, that has shown positive results to halt disease progression of Multiple Sclerosis. It is not a new procedure as such, as it has been used to treat cancer since the 1960’s, but it is a relatively new treatment for MS. The aim of AHSCT is to ‘reset’ the immune system to stop it from attacking the central nervous system. The procedure involves removing the harmful immune cells that attack the brain and spinal cord in MS, and then uses a person’s own stem cells to effectively re-grow the immune system. The aim is that re-booting the immune system in this way will prevent further damage in the brain and spinal cord.
How does the HSCT Treatment Work?
The goal of AHSCT is to reset the patient’s immune system to stop it from attacking nerve cells in your body. During the treatment, doctors collect bone marrow stem cells from the blood and freeze them. These "haematopoietic stem cells" are at such an early stage of development that they haven't acquired the flaws that trigger MS. The faulty immune system is then destroyed using chemotherapy. The thawed-out stem cells are re-infused into the patient’s blood to reboot the immune system.
Recent studies have shown that in patient’s e with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, AHSCT was linked to a significant reduction in disability on average. Eighty percent of the people treated who were followed for 4 years had no more relapses, and 87% had no worsening of their level of disability.
HSCT Treatment at Fortis Memorial Hospital, Gurgaon India
The method for Autologous stem cell transplant for MS which is followed in Fortis Hospital comprises of Cyclosphosphamide and ATG. These agents act as lymphoablative drugs. In addition the protocol has provision for Rituximab to reduce risk of EBV reactivation.
The total duration of uncomplicated stay in in India is about 24 to 28 days and the best part is that patients are managed on an inpatient basis in our world class hospital at Gurgaon near the New Delhi, the capital of India.