Here's an article I just stumbled upon from the official, California Stem Cell Agency. I didn't know we had one here. The blog is aptly named The Stem Cellar.
This post is from March 2017 and gives a well-researched and well-written state of worldwide stem cell therapies to date. It provides some interesting follow-up statistics from many different studies among 13 different countries.
Analogous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant, sometimes abbreviated as ASCT or HSCT, is a process by which your own (analogous) hematopoietic stem cells (i.e. immune system stem cells), grown in your own bone marrow, are harvested from your body (usually through your blood), then given back to you after chemotherapy (which wipes out your existing immune system) to rebuild a new immune system (without memory of your autoimmune disease) from scratch.
This is in effect a reboot of the immune system.
There are many types of stem cells in the body, each of which can grow into particular types of new cells. Hematopoietic stem cells grow into new immune cells, and they are abundant and easy to capture. Furthermore, a mobilizing drug (i.e. filgrastim) can be used to encourage the bone marrow to generate HSCs by the millions.
HSCT (aka ASCT) for autoimmune disease (i.e. MS) is not yet FDA approved in the USA, and therefore some Western Medicine neurologists have little or no idea what the treatment is, what it does, or how safe it is. In the last couple of years, they've finally started catching-on as more patients return from foreign countries with incredible results.
MS usually shows two related but different manifestations. There are discrete "attacks" or flareups or exacerbations or relapses, and there is usually a steady disease progression. Most forms of MS start with debilitating attacks and little of a steady progression of disability, then they transition to predominantly debilitating progression.
With the exception of Ampyra, which attempts to minimize walking disability in people with MS, all the other (USA) FDA approved medications for MS are considered disease modifying therapies (DMTs). They basically attempt to slow down the rate of disease progression and minimize the number and/or severity of attacks, without actually increasing general quality of life. Some people do very well on DMTs, but others don't. Even the best DMTs out there, on average, claim to stop only about half of MS attacks and slow the disease progression very slightly, if at all. Some people are lucky and have very good results with one DMT or another. I tried two different DMTs and found one (Tysabri) that seemed to stop attacks, but my disability was still worsening (i.e. the disease was still progressing).
Many of my best friends and close family have called me brave for choosing to do HSCT.
Let me make this clear. I am not brave for doing this.
Maybe I'm smart. Proactive. Resourceful. But not brave.
Brave is a firefighter running into a burning building. Brave is a police officer running into a gunfight. Brave is a soldier going behind enemy lines. Those are situations whereby someone is risking their life for the benefit of others. Altruism.
Choosing to do HSCT is simply taking the best of the available options to prevent worsening a life-threatening disease. HSCT was less risky for me than doing nothing.
Regarding my condition prior to doing HSCT, maintaining the status quo would literally have been stupid. Giving up. Waiting for a miracle, highly unlikely to happen. I had been a sharp study of all the potential disease modifying drugs coming down the pike. Waiting a decade while continuing to slide towards being un-ambulatory, was of itself risky. I would be sure to lose at least a significant portion of my income, assuming my brain didn't continue to deteriorate as well. I might have to move back in with my mother, so she could help take care of me, a sharp change of lifestyle for a single, 50-year-old man!
Below is a timeline I created of the "Mexican Method," as performed by Clínica Ruíz. This protocol is a little different from that of Dr. Richard Burt and Dr. Shimon Slavin, who were the pioneers of this amazing process. As of this writing, this process is not yet FDA approved in the USA, but it is in a Stage 3 Clinical Trial.
The Mexican Method, illustration by A. Fisher version 10, updated 6/17/16 *Subject to Change!