, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 888–893 | Cite as

Five Questions Answered: A Review of Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

  • Harold L. Atkins
  • Mark S. Freedman


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is thought to be an autoimmune disease targeting the central nervous system leading to demyelination, and axonal and neuronal damage, resulting in progressive disability. More intensive therapies such as immunodepletion with hematopoietic stem-cell rescue are being used at a time prior to patients becoming irreversibly disabled. Over the last 15 years, there has been a shift away from using autologous hematopoietic stem-cell transplants (aHSCT) to treat patients with progressive MS, towards treating those with active inflammation and relapses. There is an increasing body of evidence that aHSCT improves all measured MS outcomes, including burden of disease on MRI, clinical relapses, accumulation of disability, and quality of life of patients with active MS not controlled with standard therapy. Importantly, the progression-free survival curves of these patients plateau after the first few years demonstrating the impact that aHSCT has in changing the natural history of MS, potentially freeing patients from the relentless accumulation of disability. Concurrently there has been a reduction in procedure-related mortality. The results of randomized trials will likely spur further development of this field.


Multiple sclerosis Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation Immunoablation Chemotherapy Autoimmunity Immune reconstitution 


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Copyright information

© The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Ottawa HospitalOttawaCanada

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