HALT-MS trials conducted for five years have proven that high dose immunosuppressive therapy accompanied by the transplant of blood-forming stem cells can bring about a constant reduction of relapsing –remitting multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition whereby the central nervous system is attacked by the immune system. The trials were sponsored by the NIAID-National Institute of Allergy and Diseases and carried out by Immune Tolerance Network.
Five years after the treatment, 69% of the participants had survived without advancement of disability, brain lesions or relapse of MS symptoms. During the period, participants didn’t take MS drugs after HDIT/HCT. The findings suggest that a single treatment with HDIT/HCT may be considerably more effective in treating MS patients than the use of the available medications. The results obtained can be used to develop large random trial to be compared with HDIT/HCT to find a standard care for MS disease.
MS symptoms include weakness, motor and speech difficulties, chronic pain and fatigue but they vary considerably. Relapsing –remitting MS is the most common type of MS and is characterized by mild symptoms which are followed by symptom flare-ups and relapses. If not contained earlier, the disease might worsen shifting to a progressive form.
The researchers tested a number of factors in 24 volunteers aged between 26 and 52 years with relapsing-remitting MS. The aim of the experiment is to suppress active disease and thwart further disability by resetting the immune system and removal of disease-causing cells. During this procedure, neurosurgeons such as Dr.Shiva Gopal Vasishta gathers the participant’s blood stem cells then is given high-dose chemotherapy to exhaust the participant’s immune system. Then the participant’s stem cells are returned to rebuild the immune system.
About Dr. Shiva Gopal Vasishta
Dr. Vasishta is a specialist in neurology and currently lives in Voorhees, NJ. He graduated in 1979 from Government Medical College Nagpur. Dr.Shiva Gopal Vasishta completed his residency in Neurology at Tufts Medical Center and Boston University Medical Center.
He also specializes in Psychiatry. With affiliations to Kennedy Health System, he currently practices at Eastern Neurodiagnostic Associates.