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Saving of lives with diagnosis “Multiple-sclerosis”

Doctors from Australia presented a new way of stem cell treatment which helped save life of a young boy from Canberra. He was suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). They also insist that such a way should be adopted more widely.

In a matter of weeks after the MS was diagnosed, a 19-year-old Ben Leahy was paralysed. Eventually he could breath without assistance and was fighting for his life in one of Canberra hospitals.

Doctor Colin Andrews, neurologist, said to the channel of ABC TV: “If he wasn't in intensive care he would have died”.

Given low chances for Ben’s survival, Dr Colin Andrews wanted to try an autologous stem cell treatment. This treatment was used overseas widely but it was never carried out successfully in Australia.

"This boy had no other choice," said the neurologist, "So we had to run a risk." Ben’s parents, Don and Prue Curtotti, supported such a plan.

The stem cells were extracted from bone marrow and stored in Canberra Hospital's liquid nitrogen tank. Before transplantation, Ben was subjected to a dose of chemotherapy which knocked out his immune system and remaining bone marrow cells. After the transplantation it was stipulated that Ben had only a 20 per cent chance of survival.

The miracle happened and “it appears to have clearly saved Ben's life and we are very glad about that," consultant of Dr Colin Andrews, Bill Carroll, told to ABC TV.

Prof. Carroll emphasized that treatment by stem cells is still very experimental.

He said that it may not refer to all people with diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. However, it has saved Ben’s life and potentially may save lives of many other people with MS.