Here are some great resources as you navigate the ocean of information about HSCT as a treatment for MS:
First published February 1, 2017, DOI:
Neurology, April 10, 2018; 90 (15 Supplement)
Non-myeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is superior to disease modifying drug (DMD) treatment in highly active Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS): interim results of the Multiple Sclerosis International Stem cell Transplant (MIST) Randomized Trial (S36.004)
Journal of American Medical Association, JAMA. 2015;313(3):275-284. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.17986
The Lancet, Volume 388, Issue 10044, P576-585, August 06, 2016
Clinical Ruiz FULL DISCLOSURE- this is the private clinic where I was treated in April 2018
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: An Interview with Dr. Richard Burt, The National MS Society, msconnection.org, August 27, 2014
Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (AHSCT) is the longest and most difficult name to pronounce for a treatment that keeps us MSers progression free.
Before we get to the nitty gritty of the treatment itself, here's the truth about HSCT that you need to know up front and to dispel any misinformation right away:
HSCT is not a cure for MS. Depending on your type of MS and at what stage post-diagnosis you are, HSCT will give you 70% or greater chance of halting the disease. This is to say, you have fantastic chances of not getting any worse. And the earlier you decide on this treatment, the greater the chances.
Now, that said, there's no guarantees the treatment will reverse the damage the disease has caused. Again, depending on the type of MS and in what stage of disease progression, you could suddenly have symptom reversal or improvement, but the goal of HSCT is to stop the disease progression in its tracks.
HSCT is not stem cell therapy. Be very wary of U.S. clinics that claim to perform stem cell therapy to cure MS! Auto HSCT (aHSCT) is a transplant of one's own stem cells after ablating the immune system through chemotherapy. Let's look at this in a nutshell: the immune system is where the disease lives. So, we'll wipe out the immune system and any memory of MS. Then we'll use our own stem cells to help rebuild the immune system again. I know, I asked the same question about stem cells-- NO, there's nothing wrong with the stem cells. They're perfect the way they are. But if there's one take-away in this little paragraph, it's this: no chemo, no cure.
HSCT is experimental in the United States. Experimental in that the FDA does not approve it's use yet for MS. That said, stem cell transplants have been used for decades in the U.S. to save patients battling multiple myeloma, leukemia, and lymphoma.
The facts are few here, but the data continues to come in from clinics around the world, that HSCT is the closest we come to a curative treatment for MS. There are no disease modifying drugs (DMDs) out there right now that claim to halt the disease. The goal of DMDs are to reduce the number of and severity of relapses. These DMDs are helpful to many and, with some side effects, have been keeping MSers on their feet for decades.
Once again, I am not going to try to be the medical professional and explain it in my own way. I am directing you now to the sources of HSCT protocol and information I trust.