Hoping for a cure

Posted: February 11, 2015 at 11:46 am

John Wyse, a shellfish farmer and father of three from Nanaimo, has not been able to work due to deteriorating health from a rare form of multiple sclerosis.

image credit: CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

John Wyse, 40, a Nanaimo father of three, is in a race against the progression of his disease.

Wyse was diagnosed in 2010 with primary progressive multiple sclerosis and hopes to receive hematopoietic stem cell transplantation treatment at the Hassadah Medical Centre in Israel.

Multiple sclerosis affects the brain and spinal cord by causing inflammation that damages myelin the protective covering of the nerves and disrupts nerve impulses, giving rise to symptoms that include extreme fatigue, weakness, lack of coordination, impaired sensation, vision and bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes.

What causes MS is unknown, but its thought to be an autoimmune disorder causing the bodys immune system to attack healthy tissue.

Patients suffer repeating cycles of advancing deterioration followed by periods of remission in all forms of MS except for the primary progressive variant of the disease, which progresses without remission and is the only form of MS for which there are no conventional drugs or treatments available.

Research into stem cell transplantation therapy is the latest avenue of hope for successful treatment and a possible cure. Clinics in Germany, Russia, India and Israel currently offer stem cell treatment and clinical trials are also being conducted in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere.

Most clinical trials and some treatment clinics will not accept primary progressive MS patients.

Wyse, with his wife and three daughters, are trying to raise $158,200 to pay for his treatment in Israel, scheduled for April 2016, but the Hassadah Medical Centre places limits on how far Wyses condition can deteriorate before it will not accept him. Wyse, who now walks with a cane and hasnt been able to work for a year, figures he has little more than a year before hes no longer a treatment candidate.

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