What does the HSCT treatment involve?
AHSCT (also called HSCT) stands for autologous hematopoietic stem cell therapy. In this treatment, stem cells are used which are present in the bone marrow and in the blood, so-called hematopoietic cells. Autologous means that the stem cells of the person itself are used. The purpose of the AHSCT treatment is “to reset” the immune system so that inflammatory cells no longer attack the brain and / or spinal cord, as is the case in people with an active form of MS. Stem cells are very important for the repair of the damage in the human body. From stem cells, a variety of other types of cells can arise. In this case, stem cells are used from the blood, they can form various types of cells and rebuild the immune system. This type of stem cell, however, can not recover organs or tissues. AHSCT, therefore, can not restore real nerve damage.
In brief, the treatment with AHSCT consists of three steps. First, they extract stem cells from the blood or bone marrow of the patient and then will be temporarily frozen. Second, the patient receives chemotherapy and antibodies are administered that will turn the immune system (largely) off. Finally, the patient gets back his own stem cells through a drip, this allows the immune system to rebuilt. The treatment is given in two variants. Non-myeloablative and myeloablative variant. In the non-myeloablative treatment, the immune system is largely but not completely destroyed. As a result, the MS in about 80 percent of the patients is stopped, but there is also about 20 percent probability that the MS is not stopped. With myeloablative treatment, the immune system is completely destroyed. As a result, it is virtually impossible that the MS is still present. The disadvantage of this treatment is that recovery of the patient takes longer as well as the rebuilding of the immune system. The patient will need vaccinations against childhood diseases re-administered after the treatment, such as the measles.