Congratulations on a new life Asher - glad to hear about your steady progress!
I have a question for you or George.... aside from the obvious risks that one takes by re-setting the immune system until blood counts come up, (infection, etc...), what are the long term effects on the body/organs, from the chemo used during this process?? Is there radiation involved as well or is it just chemo drugs?
Thanks for your answer & all the best in your journey to improved health.
Great questions, dlb. And very relevant, too!
No radiation. Very risky, not required and no added benefit. So a safer chemical-only protocol does the job of resetting the immune system for MS. (The early clinical trials used total body irradiation (TBI) and they discovered that the ionizing radiation caused far more problems than it solved. So after phase I they realized that TBI is not at all helpful.)
Long-term downside (main risks) of the procedure?
1) Probable sterility for both men and women. (Expecting this I banked my sperm.)
2) A risk (not definite) of early menopause or andropause. Not common, but sometimes happens. (It happened to me but easy to treat with HRT which is easy.)
3) Small risk of a latent cancerous malignancy due to the chemo drugs used (which are carcinogenic). The risk is approximately 1.5% chance at five years post-transplant.
Those are the main ones of consequence.
I describe some of the issues related to treatment on this page:
http://themscure.blogspot.com/2010/02/l ... s-day.html
Here's a relevant paper with some info in it in which they cover the minor long-term issues as well. . .
Long-term care after stem-cell transplantation