Multiple Sclerosis is close to being cured after a pioneering treatment was found to stop and even reverse the disease, scientists have said.
Results of a trial were hailed as remarkable, with the progression of the debilitating disease halted in almost all patients who had the treatment. A quarter of the MS sufferers had their condition effectively suppressed.
In the trial at the University of Ottawa in Canada, patients had aggressive chemotherapy combined with a transplant of their own cells. The chemotherapy destroyed the immune system instead of suppressing it as in standard treatment. It was then “reset” using blood stem cells.
The new technique is not without risk. Of the 24 patients treated, one died as a consequence, and the study was too small to assess the true dangers. Even so, the treatment was described as a breakthrough therapy which was “close to being curative”.
MS is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. It is caused when the immune system attacks the body and can result in vision problems, memory loss, dizziness, fatigue and spasms. In severe cases it can lead to paralysis.