January 13, 2016

Multiple sclerosis, widely known as MS, is a degenerative disease that causes an individual’s immune system to attack the protective layer around nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing scarring that disrupts the nerve’s ability to function. If the scarring and inflammation is not treated, the neurodegeneration will become permanent.

An ongoing study had individuals in the United Kingdom who suffer from MS treated with a combination of chemotherapy and stem cells harvested from their blood. The hematopoietic stem cells used in the treatment are very similar to those found in an infant’s umbilical cord blood. The immune systems of the patients were destroyed using chemotherapy and rebuilt via autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. This resulted in the immune system being rebooted so that it would no longer target the nervous systems of the patients.

Nearly all the patients involved in the treatment have shown drastic improvement in their condition. Some of the patients who were paralyzed have even regained the ability to walk. The treatment appears to render MS inert, and there is hope that with continued treatment a patient will no longer have to worry about relapses. It is possible that the transplant could prove to be a permanent solution as the study continues to monitor the individuals, but at this time the long-term benefits of the treatment are still being monitored. Also, while these patients showed improvement, it is important to note that not all types of MS may be treatable with a stem cell transplant.

It is life-changing treatments like these that prove the unquestionable benefits of saving your child’s umbilical cord blood. Multiple sclerosis is just one condition out of many that has been found to be susceptible to treatment with hematopoietic stem cells. When considering the long-term health and well-being of your child, it never hurts to hedge one’s bets. Cord blood banking and cord tissue banking can mean all the difference if your child is stricken with an illness. Browse our website or the Parent's Guide to Cord Blood to learn more about how you can safeguard your child’s future with us.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-35065905

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