As a consequence of increasing patient demand about autologous stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) a Belgian working party was formed to delineate clear guidelines on this treatment. In a simplified way the mechanism of AHSCT in MS can be explained as a chemotherapy-based destruction of the “sick” immune system after which previously collected stem cells regenerate a “healthy” immune system. This technique offers us a unique insight in how abnormal immune-networks can be reconstituted in MS. In a collaboration between the participating centers of the working party and the BIOMED research center (UHasselt) we will study how specific immune cells (“B-cells”) behave and play a role in restoring a deregulated immune system.
Autologous stemcell transplantation offers us the unique opportunity to study how B cells can help in the regeneration of a normal functioning immune system in MS.