Experts say new hope for those with M-S, as transplants might be the key to the future
July 30, 2014 at 11:27 PM CDT - Updated July 21 at 9:17 PM
A year ago, Dan Tiel spent half his life in a wheel chair because of M-S. Six months ago, he had a stem cell transplant, and now, a new treatment is giving Dan and other patients with multiple sclerosis a whole new outlook on life.
"All aspects of my life have improved. I don't even walk with a cane anymore. Do I feel like a whole person? Absolutely," says Tiel.
"We give them their own stem cells that we had collected from their blood before we started the procedure and it regenerates a new immune system. We've been having very good response with the patients we're treating," says Dr. Richard Burt, a researcher with Northwestern University in Chicago.
Dr. Burt is leading this clinical trial at Northwestern University in Chicago, the only place in the country offering this stem cell transplant for patients with M-S.
The theory is that the new stem cells rebuild a new immune system, so that it no longer attacks the central nervous system, as is the case in multiple sclerosis.
It is still experimental. But, Dr. Burt says about 80 patients a year are getting this stem cell transplant at northwestern.
Studies continue to see if long term, it proves to be a one-time treatment. And not just form M-S, but Dr. Burt says this transplant holds promise for many auto immune diseases.