Dr. Jenny Remington-Hobbs (pictured above) is a 31 year old doctor, a neurologist, from London, who came down with multiple sclerosis (MS). This is one of the most common devastating neurological diseases because there was basically no real cure. The best most could hope for is anti-inflammatory drugs, but that is not a cure. Slowly slowly over time it incapacitates and so you end up in a wheelchair until eventually the complications of neuro-degeneration finally result in the inevitable.
Now something quite remarkable has happened, the multiple sclerosis that Dr. Jenny Remington-Hobbs had is completely gone, she has been cured.
She did something incredibly dangerous and quite mind blowing – she made a decision to have her entire immune system rebooted.
Here is how the treatment works.
Bone marrow cells are extracted, then (and this is truly mind blowing) every immune cell within your body is killed via lethally high doses of radiation and chemotherapy. The previously extracted bone marrow is then transplanted back in and so your immune system gets a fresh restart. If all goes well then your immune system will have stopped attacking nerve cells (the cause of the MS).
You might wonder how this was discovered. Apparently it was quite an accidental discovery made where treating a cancer patient who also had MS. After vigorous treatment, as described above, to kill a cancer they realised that they had also cured the patients MS.
The risks for this are very large, you have a 1-5% chance that this will kill you and only a 70% chance that it will actually work. It is also not a quick process and so anybody doing this will face a considerable degree of both physical and emotional stress.
It worked for Jenny, the progress of her MS was halted and reversed, she has now made a full and complete recovery.
You can read a full Interview with here here in New Scientist.
At the moment, this approach is only suggested for people with severe and aggressive MS, because there is up to a 5 per cent risk of dying from the chemotherapy it involves. But even people with less severe forms of the disease can end up in a wheelchair or go blind, so some are seeking out similar treatments privately, as Remington-Hobbs decided to do.
“I read about the treatment in New Scientist but no one knew anything about it so I had to do lots of research,” says Remington-Hobbs.
She managed to find a US centre that offered the therapy as part of a trial for people with severe MS. “I did not meet the requirements as I had not had MS for long enough with enough relapses.” So she decided to pay for it herself. “I was discouraged by pretty much everyone I knew. People said I was mad,” she says.
Although this treatment involved a less intense form of chemotherapy than the kind used in the new study, she was told that the death rate was between 1 and 5 per cent.
This is one truly Amazing Lady
I find her to be quite inspirational, she refused to sit back and just let life take its course, but instead deployed her mind to take control and chart a quite different path …
She developed a blood-clotting disorder and struggled with the premature menopause triggered by the chemotherapy. “That was one of the hardest things. The year that followed was quite a dark time.”
But the treatment not only stopped the MS in its tracks, but pushed it into reverse, and she has now made a full recovery.
This is not the full story, there is more. Anticipating what might happen she had also taken steps to overcome the menopause …
She has even managed to have a daughter. Before the treatment, she had an experimental procedure to preserve her fertility – ovary freezing, which is similar to egg freezing. After the MS treatment, she had slices of the ovary reimplanted, which reversed the menopause and enabled her to conceive.