ANCHOR LEAD: STEM CELLS AND CHEMOTHERAPY MAY HELP IN MS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Using chemotherapy followed by transplantation of stem cells seemed to help patients with early multiple sclerosis, a recent study reported. Peter Calabresi, an MS expert at Johns Hopkins, describes the results.
CALABRESI: The good news is the disability scores actually decreased and that’s something that’s not typical for the drugs that we use now in MS. Mostly we’re hoping for stabilization or slowing of progression whereas here, there actually was reversal in most of the patients in some of their disability. :16
Calabresi cautions that more needs to be studied regarding the regimen used here.
CALABRESI: We don’t know whether the benefit was from the cytoxan or the bone marrow stem cell rescue, or a combination of both. We think that maybe the chemotherapy just by itself had the benefits, and the reason that’s important is that the stem cell rescue is potentially dangerous and it adds a lot to the expense of the studies. :16
People who undergo stem cell transplantation are at increased risk for severe infections and death. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting