Thanks for posting the entire article, Patientx. Having done the same myeloablative stem cell transplantation myself, I have these observations from (the brief) article to add. . . .
"But it was too early to call it a cure, as the treatment was first done a decade ago, Dr Andrews said." . . . .
What is the definition of "cure?" There is no universal definition of what a cure is. I found that doctors and patients often have different definitions. It is up to each person to decide for themselves what a cure means. For me it was "stop the disease activity/progression and restore immune self-tolerance." By that definition I am cured from my transplant. Additionally, MRI brain scan lesions have very limited correlation with clinical symptomatic progression of MS (measured by EDSS). A great number of people are "sub-clinical." That is they have Gd-enhanced T2 brain lesions activity on MRI but never manifest any clinical symptoms of MS whatsoever. That's why MS cannot be diagnosed with an MRI scan alone. It also requires physical menifestations of disease activity. Does a person with a positive MRI scan result have MS even though they never have any outward symptoms? I would argue they do not.
"In 70 per cent of patients, there is no evidence of recurrence of the disease over 100 months, but what happens beyond that we don't yet know.". . . . .
This statistic is referring to the first phase I clinical trial in 2000. Unfortunately the brevity of the article leaves out some important info. . . . The first (phase I) clinical trial was done by Dr. Richard Burt at NWU in Chicago where they used a protocol (TBI) that is now evolved into a more effective therapy that does not use TBI. Although only 70% of the patients treated with this obsolete (TBI) protocol had a 'stopping' of their disease progression, not a single person that had their MS disease activity stopped has again shown any evidence of further progression at any time, at all. So it is actually quite likely that anyone that has the MS disease activity stopped (shown to be 100% of the people in the phase II trial, also of which there have been no deaths) will likely have a lifetime disease remission. We just have to first wait until all the treated patients die of old age to prove it. I'm taking bets that will be the final result.
"Doctors had been reluctant to perform the procedure in Australia because it had carried a 10 per cent death rate, but this had now dropped to less than one per cent, although it was still not suitable for all MS sufferers, he said". . . . .
The death rate has indeed dropped to 1% (or less) because the evolved protocol no longer uses TBI, relying soley on a more gentle chemical ablation that so far has shown exccellent curative results. And the article also correctly states that this treatment is not suitable for all MS sufferers, but doesn't say why. Its too bad that they didn't explain a little further which is that stem cell transplantation favors ealy relapsing cases resulting in curatative efficacy (better than 80% of the people also have substantial symptomatic improvement measured by EDSS). Late stage progressive non-ambulatory cases can still have the disease process stopped, but reversal of symptoms (symptomatic improvement) is less likely, or not at all because much of the damage has already been done.
Here is some more info/data on this reference page. . . . .
http://themscure.blogspot.com/2010/06/s ... rence.html