Stem cell research has given way to many incredible opportunities for tackling a host of chronic illnesses. Recently, researchers overseeing the HALT-MS Study – a study aimed at treating relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis – reported positive findings after exploiting the relationship between stem cells and immunity.
HALT-MS is a five-year study that was conducted to determine the effects of high-dose immunotherapy (HDIT) coupled with autologous hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) on relapsing-remitting MS. The study involved 24 participants aged from 26 to 52 and suffering from persistent cases of the condition in spite of taking clinical medication. The study was sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The study began with the collection of the participants’ blood-forming stem cells. The participants would then undergo high-dose chemotherapy that would leave their immune systems critically depleted. The researchers then re-introduced the harvested stem cells into the body to rebuild the natural immune system. Notably, the participants did not take any clinical medications throughout the period of the study.
69% of the participants lasted the entire trial period without showing any progress in their relapsing-remitting MS. Several patients also showed improvements such as recovery of mobility and physical disabilities.
The researchers also determined that HDIT/HCT was much more effective and safer compared to the best clinical medications. However, it was also associated with side-effects such as infection due to the low body immunity. Research is still ongoing to get a clearer understanding of this breakthrough procedure.
About Dr. Shiva Gopal Vasishta
Dr. Shiva Gopal Vasishta is a graduate of the Government Medical College where he graduated in 1979. Since then, he has honed his stills practicing in different hospitals including the Boston City Hospital. He currently practices neurology in Voorhees, NJ. He is an affiliate at the Kennedy Health System Cherry Hill Campus. He is also a certified psychiatrist.
A dedicated neurologist, Dr. Shiva Gopal Vasishta is one of the scientists leading researches into relapsing-remitting MS and a host of other neurological conditions.