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Chemo could help treat multiple sclerosis

Doctors at Drexel University reported promising results using huge doses of a potent chemotherapy drug in treating autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, though an MS researcher said more patients and time are needed before any victory is declared.
The drug, cyclophosphamide, is given to patients at such high doses that most or all of the person's disease-fighting immune cells are destroyed.
The patient's stem cells within their bone marrow survive the drug's onslaught, the doctors say, and are stimulated with drugs to rebuild the immune system from scratch - but without the bad triggers that cause the body to attack its own cells.
"Once the immune cells are destroyed, they come back no longer recognizing the stimulus that brought them on," Dr. Isadore Brodsky, director of hematology and oncology at Drexel's Hahnemann University Hospital, said Monday. "The immune system comes back naive, so it's tolerant of whatever trigger caused the autoimmune response."

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March 23, 2004 in treatment | Permalink