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Canberra Hospital cures MS?

By 18 May 2010 11

The ABC has an amazing story on staff at Canberra Hospital using stem cell treatment to completely reset the immune system of one Ben Leahy to effectively cure him of multiple sclerosis.

The procedure is akin to rebooting the patient’s immune system. The first step was to extract some of Ben’s stem cells from his bone marrow.

“Following some chemotherapy and administration of marrow stimulating drugs, the patient’s own bone marrow stem cells are harvested from the bloodstream on a machine during a narrow window of time,” Dr Pidcock explained.

Ben’s extracted stem cells were stored in Canberra Hospital’s liquid nitrogen tank, waiting for his body to be ready to receive them back.

For this to happen, Ben was subjected to a second dose of chemotherapy to knock out his immune system and remaining bone marrow cells.

Within weeks of the treatment, Ben was out of intensive care and walking – something he had not been able to do for more than nine months.

More on the 7.30 Report tonight.

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11 Responses to
Canberra Hospital cures MS?
J Dawg 4:41 pm
18 May 10
#1

Awesome news – stem cells are the way of the future.

pptvb 7:30 pm
18 May 10
#2

Wow.

georgesgenitals 8:19 pm
18 May 10
#3

That’s dead set amazing – good on them. If this doesn’t justify supporting our local health system, nothing will.

cleo 9:46 pm
18 May 10
#4

That is amazing, it’s wonderful what science can do today.

dusty 9:39 am
19 May 10
#5

They don’t mention that stem cell transplants are very very dangerous treatments.
I admit they can have fantastic results but only after the recipient has become so sick, some close to death. Its only in the last few years that we are hearing more about this treatment because before then, too many people died from this treatment.
I have seen a member of my family have a stem cell transplant recently, and while I am the first to admit that it worked, and worked well, thankfully, it caused an instant ‘crash’ sickness that was worse than the causative disease and took weeks to recover from.
Dont think this is an easy fix, its not as easy as they make it sound

J Dawg 11:21 am
19 May 10
#6

dusty said :

They don’t mention that stem cell transplants are very very dangerous treatments.
I admit they can have fantastic results but only after the recipient has become so sick, some close to death. Its only in the last few years that we are hearing more about this treatment because before then, too many people died from this treatment.

Keep in mind that stem cells are only effective as a solution to a problem, they cannot be used as a preventative measure (well, probably not in our lifetime anyway!). This is because of the way stem cells work, as a replacement for damaged areas. So before treatment can start, a disease/illness/problem needs to be identified, stem cells need to be obtained, and then they need to be cultured into the cells which they will be replacing. Then, just like other transplants, they are inserted into the body, however they need to be accepted by the body and not rejected by it. Then it takes time to heal!

Keep in mind this is a very new and very exciting treatment option, it’s still in its infancy, and over the next few years it will be refined and adapted so that it is more effective.

It’s good to hear that your family member had eventual success with their treatment.

Frano 1:36 pm
19 May 10
#7

I too saw the story. Great news. Hopefully it can be developed further for a long term solution for many thousands of sufferers.

Leinna 6:38 pm
19 May 10
#8

It sounds like for this treatment to work, they harvest your stem cells and then wipe out your entire bone marrow to kill the cells causing the MS. Then they re-inject your own stem cells and they replenish your bone marrow. The dangerous part is when you have no bone marrow and are relying on transfusions to get you through. I imaging infection is a pretty high risk given your white blood cells are stuffed as well. Modern treatments are much better at preventing complications – making this possible. Hope it lasts :)

cranky 8:09 pm
19 May 10
#9

Could this work for Parkinsons?

J Dawg 1:01 am
21 May 10
#10

cranky said :

Could this work for Parkinsons?

Short answer – yes!

I’m not up to date on the most current research with stem cells and Parkinsons, but I do know of a study done in the early 2000′s where rats with Parkinson’s symptoms had successful stem cell transplants. So basically the effects of Parkinson’s can be cured with stem cells, it’s just the other factors which are being worked on (if not already solved, as I said I’m not up to date!). But I know that clinical trials of stem cell patients with Alzheimer’s began last year (it’s a similar disease) so if Parkinson’s trials haven’t begun already they wouldn’t be too far away!

Fiona 10:19 am
23 May 10
#11

It’s all very exciting :)

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