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MS sufferer: 'Transplant trial gives us our future back'

Tasha Proctor

Some days Tasha Proctor gets to forget she has Multiple Sclerosis. On others, feelings of numbness and tiredness remind her to listen to her body.

Before being diagnosed four years ago, the now 27-year-old explains: "I'd known for sometime there wasn't something quite right with me.

"At that point things were very scary."

However, she says she feels "hugely excited" after doctors revealed a new treatment which is both able to stop the disease developing, and improve symptoms.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord

The medical trial involved wiping out a patient's immune system using cancer drugs, and then rebooting it with blank healthy stem cells taken from their bones.

Tasha remembers the decline she experienced before being diagnosed at 23: "Lot's of the symptoms I'd had over the years all happened at the same time.

"Basically I went blind, I couldn't walk and I really felt like I was dying.

"But since then getting to know the MS Society and having really great doctors, I've kind of kept on going."

Tasha has to take a day off work every month to receive the medication she needs to manage her symptoms.

"It is a very strong medicine which has it's own side effects," she says. "So I don't know when the day will come when it gets too dangerous for me to be on them.

"Or it might just stop working. Such is the nature of MS the future's very uncertain."

Image caption Doctors have always encouraged Tasha to 'live her life'

Doctors warn though that new treatment isn't suitable for all MS patients, and the process can be pretty punishing.

It's aimed at patients like Tasha with relapsing remitting MS - where attacks or relapses are followed by periods of remission.

"For me it really is a game changer.

"We've heard rumblings for a while, and the doctors have always been very cautious and they don't want to get our hopes up.

"For those of us that do have highly active relapsing remitting MS, to basically be able to press the restart button and just wipe it out - it's just giving everyone their futures back."

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