A clinical trial led by Dr. Harold Atkins and Dr. Mark S. Freedman of the University of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital shows that an intensive procedure that completely wipes out the immune system and regenerates a new one with the help of blood stem cells can significantly reduce inflammation in patients with early, aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and lead to lasting recovery. The trial involved 24 participants who were followed for up to 13 years and is the first to show a complete, long-term suppression of inflammation in patients with MS. The results of the $6.47 million trial, funded by the MS Society of Canada and its affiliated Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation, have been published in The Lancet.
“This procedure should be considered as a treatment option for people with early, aggressive MS,” says Dr. Freedman. “Although this trial was relatively small, it was intensive, with the longest prospective follow-up of any such treatment group to date, and that’s what makes the results so convincing.”
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