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09.07.19

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals named regional champions after AHSCT work

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been named a winner in the Future NHS Award at the Yorkshire and Humber NHS Parliamentary Awards.

They will now go on to represent the region at the national awards ceremony at the House of Commons on Wednesday 10 July.

The AHSCT team were nominated after pioneering the use of a breakthrough treatment which is the first to significantly to reverse disability in certain patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

READ MORE: Sheffield Teaching Hospitals win innovation awards

The treatment, which is known as autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT), has been shown to stabilise the disease and reduce disability in interim trial results published from the worldwide MIST trial, of which Sheffield is the sole UK site, early last year.

AHSCT aims to stop the damage caused by multiple sclerosis by first ‘wiping out’ the faulty immune cells that are causing the MS with a high dose of chemotherapy.

Once destroyed, the faulty immune system is then rebuilt using blood and bone marrow stem cells taken from the patient’s own blood prior to chemotherapy. The regenerating immune system is then effectively ‘rebooted’. It is this mechanism that allows the inflammation in the brain and spinal cord that causes problems with mobility, balance, cognition and pain, to subside and heal.

So far the treatment has had a life-changing impact on a number of patients who have the relapsing remitting form of the disease, with some now able to walk, run and even dance as a result.

Dr David Hughes, medical director for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are immensely proud that the Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (AHSCT) team have been named as regional winners of the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2019’s Future NHS Award.

"By uniquely combining their specialist fields of neurology and haematology, the team, led by Professor Basil Sharrack and Professor John Snowden, have played an inspirational role in pioneering a new breakthrough treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS), which is the first to significantly reverse disability of patients with the active form of the disease.”

MS affects 100,000 people in the UK and 2.3 million people globally.

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