11/28/2014

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Stem cell treatment shows promise treating MS

Stem cell treatment shows promise treating MS

EUGENE, Ore. - Daniel Tiel showed signs of multiple sclerosis from age 12 but wasn't diagnosed until age 17, his mother Gina Tiel said.

By age 28, he was almost confined to a wheelchair.

Then Gina met Dr. Chad Pfefer, himself an MS survivor.

He introduced the Tiels to a process called hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, a technique developed by a doctor at Northwestern University.

HSCT uses blood stem cells from your own bone marrow. After days of conditioning, Pfefer said the patient's stem cells are returned and the immune system begins to rebuild.

"You go through it one time and you're done," he said. "There is no ongoing shots, there's not ongoing infusions, there's no ongoing pills that you have to take."

Pfefer said the technique can stop the development of MS, but this stem cell treatment isn't for everyone with the disease. The treatment remains under investigation and has not yet won FDA approval, so patients have to seek out and qualify for a clinical trial.

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