Multiple sclerosis, like other common types of disabling conditions, is often difficult to treat. This type of illness affects each person differently, and depending on the type of condition and symptoms a person has, it can be a significant challenge to identify effective and safe treatments.
From time to time, however, ongoing research and testing yields interesting results and promising new therapies. Recently, for instance, a study into stem cell transplants resulted in “game-changing” results that could advance treatment options.
Relapsing remitting MS
The study involved 102 participants with relapsing remitting MS, a form that alternates between periods of relapse and remission of symptoms.
About half the participants went through an aggressive treatment of chemotherapy and the transplant of healthy stem cells unaffected by MS. After one year, just one person in this group relapsed, while 39 in the group who received drug treatments relapsed. Three years later, the results showed that the stem cell transplant failed in 6 percent of participants, while the drug treatment failed in 60 percent of participants.
Doctors have called these results “game-changing” in terms of treating this type of MS, though the results are preliminary and more research is needed. Like other aggressive and experimental treatment programs, this one is not without its flaws. According to reports, an earlier trial led to the deaths of eight participants.
Finding the right treatment
It is not easy to treat disabling illnesses like MS that do not have a cure. Treatment involves some amount of trial and error, and this can impact a person’s life just as much as the illness itself. Sufferers can struggle physically, emotionally and financially.
It is crucial to stay focused on recovery and prioritize treatment, but that can be difficult to do when there are financial limitations. Because of this, people with disabling conditions should examine their options for financial aid, including Social Security Disability benefits, to ensure that they are able to pursue the medical care they need.