Understanding how chemotherapy used in HSCT affects nerves

HSCT can be a really effective treatment for some people with MS. But we don't yet know exactly how using chemotherapy in MS affects the nerves in our brains. This add-on study to the StarMS trial is finding out. 

About the project

Progression in MS happens when our nerve cells are lost. But some highly effective disease modifying therapies (DMTs) for relapsing MS can help reduce damage to nerve cells. 

HSCT (haematopoietic stem cell transplantation) is an intense chemotherapy treatment for MS. It aims to stop the immune system attacking myelin. And it does this by partially or fully wiping out your immune system, and then regrowing it using your stem cells.

Evidence suggests HSCT can reduce relapses and improve the quality of life for some people living with MS. But some studies looking at HSCT in cancer have suggested chemotherapy can actually be toxic to nerves. 

Neurofilaments are a marker of nerve damage in MS. And this add-on study will compare neurofilament levels in people taking HSCT with people taking other highly effective DMTs. 

They'll be using data from the StarMS clinical trial, which is comparing the safety and effectiveness of HSCT with four DMTs. 

How will it help people with MS?

Knowing more about the safety and effectiveness of different treatments will allow people with MS to make more informed choices about their treatment.

The difference you can make

Helping to fund research like this will allow people with MS to make informed decisions about their treatment, and give greater certainty about their future.