My first comment. . . . I'm always glad to see Dave Bexfield add his comments to this forum. Dave is the epitome of rational and well-constructed thought. Whenever he has something to say, I listen. And on top of that, he does indeed have many excellent and relevant references listed on his Activemsers website. http://www.ActiveMSers.org
And onto Asher's comments. . . he is onto an important issue, mainly his point that (I paraphrase) sometimes you can't see the forest because the trees are in the way.
This early Greek HSCT study used a protocol that is no longer used for treatment of MS. Mainly that they incorporated Total Body Irradiation (TBI) as part of the treatment protocol. It has since been learned that TBI offers no addition curative efficacy, but instead adds substantial mortality and morbidity risk that was responsible for the deaths seen in this early study. Since the HSCT protocols have evolved to "chemical-only" (no TBI) since circa 2002, there has not been a single MS patient death anywhere in the world due to HSCT treatment. Any claim that HSCT is wildly dangerous is ignorant and does not reflect the facts. Which is why I also favor the use of HSCT for a broader range of patients, including progressive cases (such as my own SPMS that demonstrated substantial clinical benefit).
Additionally, the authors of this paper do make the sweeping statement that HSCT should be restricted to rapidly-advancing relapsing forms of MS refractory to other (drug) treatments. It is really a shame to hear this statement being repeated. Although true that HSCT works "best" on such early RRMS cases, it has also been unequivocally shown to be effective (stopping of underlying MS disease activity & progression) for most every other type of MS patient, regardless of disease morphology at time of treatment.
Long story short. . . . the cited paper was nice data ten years ago. But frankly, because the HSCT protocols have evolved, this Greek study is mostly irrelevant.
But just to add a last note that I never see (first-hand) addressed by the medical community. . . . . something I wrote for the HSCT for MS Facebook forum. . . . There are many reasons I have a negative view of the neurology profession when it comes to MS. Neurologists know a whole lot about nerves. But they know virtually nothing about the etiological cause of MS that has a hematological origin in the immune system.
Firstly, most neurologists are not educated, trained nor experienced in HSCT to stop the underlying MS disease process & progression. Therefore most (but not all) neurologists slam HSCT out of sheer igorance and beleif in long-persisting dogma that "there is no cure for MS." Well, there is no universal, or even a medical definition of what a cure for MS is. Therefore it is up to each person individually to decide for themselves what a cure is. As for my own personal definition, a cure is stopping the underlying MS disease activity and progression. And HSCT has done exactly this for me! (Actually better with a 50% improvement of my pre-existing EDSS.) So who made a neurologist (or anyone else) god to say that HSCT can't cure MS?
Secondly, the thing that really gets my gander is that neurologists usually focus solely on the clinical aspects of MS and totally ignore the important factor of Quality of Life (QoL). My own neurologist opposed my having HSCT because he said "MS isn't going to kill you and HSCT is so dangerous, why do you want to take this massive risk for little potential benefit?" What the hell did I just hear him say? First of all, your (neurologist ignorance) is soo very wrong about the medical and safety aspects of HSCT. My reply to him was "what's the point of living if my life sucks in a wheelchar (which is where I was heading before HSCT)?" He never even gave a though about QoL. Which is why today I am sooo glad that I ignored his opinion on this specific subject and instead went with my own research on the topic. If I hadn't, I wouldn't be cured of MS diseasse progression today.
So going back to Keelan Murphy's comments, don't let doctors make the personal value judgement for your own QoL. HSCT, or not.
By the way. . . I'm glad to say that I no longer have (or need) a neurologist.
Here is a QoL paper out of Russia that I found that reports on post-HSCT psycho-social (QoL) well-being that clearly indicates for the broader population people benefit well beyond just clinical efficacy: