MS patient walks following stem cell therapy

Australian physicians used a new stem cell therapy to essentially "reset" the immune system of a patient with multiple sclerosis, allowing him to walk again.

In the procedure, physicians first removed the stem cells from the patient's bone marrow and then eradicated his immune cells with chemicals. The stem cells were then planted back in the body, restoring a healthy immune system. And the physicians involved say it appears to have worked a cure.

"At the moment there's a good chance we may have arrested the disease," said Dr. Colin Andrews, a neurologist based in Canberra. "He walks pretty well, there's only some mild weakness in his right leg and some visual loss in one eye and apart from that he's very intact." Some MS patients are likely to have a 60 percent to 80 percent chance of seeing the disease progression halted while others are likely to have their symptoms reversed.

It's not without risk, though. The physician estimates that the risk of dying is about one percent, though that's been dramatically reduced from the 8 percent risk of death estimated when the procedure was first pioneered. Now some experts believe that a reliable cure to MS may be within reach in the next 10 to 15 years.

- read the article from The Telegraph