New guidelines have recently been published to make it clearer to patients and doctors who qualifies for HSCT. They also give more detailed information about the care needed after you’ve had the treatment.
The European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) published its new guidelines in September 2019.
The guidelines include information on who HSCT is most likely to work for, and what patients and doctors are expected to do before and after treatment.
HSCT is available on the NHS in the UK, but right now it’s only considered as a ‘third line’ treatment. This means you’ll only get it if other disease modifying treatments (DMTs) haven’t worked and if you meet specific conditions.
What do the guidelines say?
The guidelines tell us that HSCT works best in people with relapsing MS (that includes relapsing-remitting MS and people with secondary progressive MS with relapses) who:
- are under 45
- have an EDSS score of 5.5 or less
- have had MS less than 10 years.
But people that who don’t meet those conditions can under certain circumstances qualify for HSCT. The guidelines suggest that HSCT should be offered if you have:
- relapsing MS with what is known as ‘active’ disease. This means at least two relapses or an MRI scan in the last 12 months showing bigger or growing lesions
- at least one of the harder hitting disease modifying treatments hasn’t worked for you, such as alemtuzumab or natalizumab.
I have progressive MS, is HSCT an option for me?
The ‘Pan London’ HSCT group is the one area in the UK that will assess patients who are living with progressive MS. The group is made up of leading NHS doctors based in London.
Talk to your neurologist to understand more, and find out about whether you might be eligible.