A novel Canadian treatment to halt the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) is being hailed as revolutionary, after doctors and researchers used the new stem cell transplant method to treat the disease.
The results of the trial, published in The Lancet medical journal, showed long-term improvement of disease control in 23 out of 24 MS patients tested.
The treatment combined chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. It halted relapses and the development of new brain lesions in 23 of 24 patients for a prolonged period, without the need for ongoing medication, reported online science news service Eureka News, citing The Lancet.
Eight of the 23 patients had a sustained improvement in their disability 7.5 years after treatment, according to The Lancet. However, one patient in the clinical trial died from the use of aggressive chemotherapy.
MS is a neurological condition that is caused when the immune system attacks the body. It is among the most common chronic inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system, with around 2 million people affected worldwide and no known cure.
Mark Freedman, who led the trial, said the results should be viewed with caution.
"The sample size of 24 patients is very small and no control group was used for comparison with the treatment group. Larger clinical trials will be important to confirm these results," he said in The Lancet.
"Since this is an aggressive treatment, the potential benefits should be weighed against the risks of serious complications," he added.
To read the full report in The Lancet, please click here.