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Diagnosis: MS: Bone-marrow Transplantation


The jury is still out on bone-marrow transplantation's safety and effectiveness for people with multiple sclerosis.
Reprinted from PN June 2002
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Can replacing a person's immune system stop MS? That's what researchers are attempting to find out by testing bone-marrow transplantation, also known as hemopoietic stem cell transplantation. Clinical trials of this fairly radical therapy—originally developed and most commonly used to treat cancer—are ongoing. The jury is still out on its safety and effectiveness for people with MS.

Studies relating to bone-marrow transplantation are gaining momentum and interest worldwide among a number of prestigious medical centers in the United States and Europe, including collaborative research with the National Institutes of Health, National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), and the MS Society of Canada. Still, the procedure remains expensive—about $100,000 per treatment—and insurance coverage in the U.S. is on a case-by-case and state-to-state basis.

It is also important that people with MS only participate in this treatment as part of controlled trials to ensure the transplantation effects are not over- or underestimated.

"It seems obvious that the treatment will stop the inflammatory component of the disease, but we just have to pinpoint the patient population who should receive it for testing first," a researcher says. "Unlike other treatments for MS, this has the potential for a long-term effect."

For the latest news from the NMSS Research Department, visit www.nationalmssociety.org/research.asp. Contact: National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 733 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017-3288. (800) FIGHT MS / (212) 986-3240 / nat@nmss.org /www.nmss.org.

 

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Diagnosis: MS: Bone-marrow Transplantation

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