Researchers encouraged by experimental treatment for M.S.

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Researchers are encouraged by results of an experimental treatment for Multiple Sclerosis.

The autoimmune disease causes a wide range of symptoms including vision problems, fatigue and weakness.

A stem cell transplant that may stop or delay symptoms better than some medications. Amandy Loy never imagined she’d be battling the Alaska elements on her runs instead of battling her disease.

Amanda was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting M.S., the form that comes and goes in sporadic episodes, bringing her to life a suddent halt.

“Both of my arms went numb and I wasn’t really able to use them well,” Loy said.

Every month she underwent a drug infusion, and took half a dozen other medications, but her symptoms got worse.

I started having bladder problems and my balance was really bad requiring the cane more often,” she said.

Amanda traveled almost 3,000 miles to Chicago to participate in a trial with the hope of stopping the disease in its tracks.

“Transplants ended up being markedly superior in all the perimeters we were looking at,” Chief of the Division Immunotherapy at Northwestern Medicine Dr. Richard Burt said.

A patients own stem cells are collected and stored. During a two week stay in the hospital, hi-dose chemo is given to wipe out the immune system. Then, the stem cells are infused back into the patient to “re-boot” the body’s immune system.

Loy is off M.S. medications, she plans to head back to Chicago to run in the city’s marathon this October.

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