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Monday, January 12, 2015

Experimental MS treatment halts disease ‘in its tracks’

information showing below was provided by Nina F - thank you

A Seattle man is among two dozen MS patients in a promising clinical trial that found high-dose immune-suppressing drugs and stem-cell transplants may stop the progress of the disease in those who've failed usual care.

 Mike Kearny, seen here with wife Casey Castaneda, has multiple sclerosis and participated in an clinical trial of an experimental treatment.     MARK HARRISON / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Mike Kearny, seen here with wife Casey Castaneda, has multiple sclerosis and participated in an clinical trial of an experimental treatment.

Seattle Times health reporter
Seven years ago, Mike Kearny of Seattle was so sick and weak from multiple sclerosis, he had to use the handrail to pull himself up the stairs of his Wallingford neighborhood home.
Daily injections of powerful drugs hadn’t slowed the neurodegenerative disease; tests showed growing numbers of lesions in his brain. The once-active cyclist and climber started missing work as a cardiac catheter lab nurse, and — worse — activities with his wife, Casey Castaneda, and his boys, Owen, then 2, and Jack, 7.
“I was not doing well,” recalled Kearny, now 47, who was first diagnosed in 2006.
So when local doctors offered a gamble on an experimental treatment that aimed to use high-dose chemotherapy and stem-cell transplants to stop multiple sclerosis (MS), Kearny took the chance.
Five years later, he says joining the small-but-promising HALT-MS clinical trial led by Seattle researchers was the best bet he ever made.
“The opportunity I was given now feels like a gift,” said Kearny, who was treated in December 2009 and has seen no progress of the disease since.
“It stopped it in its tracks,” he added.

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