At this time, the HSCT treatment is conducted in many countries, whether or not as part of a trial. Hospitals and clinics that are part of a trial handle only a specific group of MS patients have relapsing-remitting MS. Patients with progressive MS, as I have, can be treated in Russia, the Philippines, México and Israel.
In order to be eligible for treatment, one of the things that are looked at is the EDDS score of the patient. This score ranges from zero to ten, and indicates the degree of the patient’s disability, and is based primarily on the ability to walk. Because my legs are completely paralysed, my EDDS score is 8. In Russia, they treat up to a score of 6.5 in Mexico up to 7. This is mainly for practical reasons. There one is treated as outpatients and transported daily by buses from they apartment to the hospital and back. They can’t transport people in wheelchairs so one must be able to get in and out of the bus by themselves. In the clinics, one must be able to independently make transfers. The clinic in the Philippines treats patients up to and including score 8 but performs the non-myeloablative variant of the treatment in which there is approximately a 20 percent chance that the MS is not stopped. It is also a private clinic where in a case of complications, not all disciplines are available.
The Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem is a large regular hospital that works closely with the Hadassah University Hospital and determines from patient to patient if treatment is possible. They perform the myeloablative treatment which certainly for patients with progressive MS has the greatest chance of success. Further, the treatment itself is almost entirely done as an in-patient. During the week-long chemotherapy, the subsequent replacement of the stem cells and the two to three weeks when you have no immune system anymore one is hospitalised in the bone marrow transplantation department. Only the first week of testing is done on an outpatient basis. For two to three weeks after discharge from the hospital, one has to stay near the hospital for further recovery and monitoring blood levels. As soon as the blood levels are well enough one can fly safely back home. Professor Rowe there studied my case and indicated that I qualify for treatment.