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Thanks to Stem Cells, MS Patient has Best Six Months in 33 Years

By Lucy Stephens, The York Press, December 23, 2006

Great-grandmother Julia has just had her best six months in 33 years even though she suffers from multiple sclerosis.

After going to have revolutionary stem cell treatment in Holland, Julia, 64, is experiencing an extraordinary turnaround from her degenerative illness. Since the therapy is banned in Britain, traveling was unavoidable.

Julia had been afflicted with multiple sclerosis for 33 years, and in July, the York Press reported on her already improving state since being treated in May.

To find out whether the stem cells in her body were still causing her condition to improve, the Press caught up with her for Christmas.

"I've had the best six months I've had in 33 years," said Julia, of Bishophill, York. "My spine is stronger. I can move my body better."

She was already experiencing welcome relief from the painful nerve endings - once so sore they kept her in bed for three months - when the Press reported on her condition just two months after treatment.

A feat she could only manage beforehand by supporting it with her other hand, she was once again able to put on her own make-up because she could lift up her left arm.

The ability to enjoy a hot cup of coffee is another life improvement Julia can enjoy again, in fact, she is enjoying it today.

Since disease meant her body could not cope with the heat, she would have to wait until hot drinks became cold.

Remarkably, her brunette hair has also started to grow back, where before it was grey.

Julia remains hopeful the stem cell treatment might improve her condition so much she could even walk again. She lost the use of her legs seven years ago.

"I'm still hopeful," she said. "It's probably wishful thinking, but I'm hopeful of it."

When she was just 31, Julia was diagnosed with MS in 1973. She was ultimately restricted to a wheelchair as her condition progressively got worse.

In May, she decided to have stem cells injected into the navel, scalp, and spine. Her treatment was conducted using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood, a treatment which is not available in Britain.


 

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