Can you stop my multiple sclerosis?

The trial of a new multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment in Sheffield led by Professor Basil Sharrack, Director of the Sheffield MS Research Clinic, and Professor John Snowden, Director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation at the Department of Haematology, is showing promising results. BBC Panorama has reported about the pioneering crossover cancer treatment that has enabled some MS sufferers with paralysis to regain their movement.

The treatment, a stem cell transplant that reboots the immune system, is known as autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT). Stem cells harvested from the patient’s own blood are used to rebuild the immune system which in multiple sclerosis mistakenly attacks the protective myelin around nerve cells leading to the debilitating disease.

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Profs John Snowden (left) and Basil Sharrack – a clinical partnership of haematology and neurology.

Professor Basil Sharrack said:

“To have a treatment which can potentially reverse disability is really a major achievement.”

The treatment Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (AHSCT) is routinely used to treat cancer, but has shown some benefits in patients with active inflammatory MS and is currently the subject of an international clinical trial with Sheffield as the sole UK site. To find out more about the treatment, the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has set up a dedicated website AHSCT for MS.

The BBC panorama programme, which had exclusive access to patients who received the treatment, is now available on BBC iplayer. The news was also covered on BBC News Health and on BBC Look North on 18th January 2016, 6:30pm.

To find out more about the scientists involved visit their University of Sheffield profile pages: Professor Basil Sharrack, Consultant Neurologist at the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Honorary Professor of Neurology, SITraN, Department of Neuroscience and Professor John Snowden, Consultant Haematologist and Director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Honorary Professor of Haemato-oncology & Stem Cell Transplantation.