Earlier this year Sona Mistry, a final year medical student at the University of Sheffield, presented her research on Autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant (AHSCT) for people with relapse-remitting MS at the American Academy of Neurology 70th Annual Meeting, the world’s largest gathering of neurologists. The trip was funded by MS Research as we strongly believe that educational development and information sharing is vital to further our understanding of MS.
Sona’s research looked into whether stem cell therapy is effective in treating MS specifically for people with relapsing-remitting MS, when two or more disease-modifying drugs have been ineffective (Sona’s abstract is available to download below).
The research analysed the disability scores and MRI scans of seven newly diagnosed patients with rapidly evolving severe MS. Following the stem cell treatment, the patients had reduced disability in comparison to before the treatment (as measured by Expanded Disability Status Scale) and showed improvement on MRI scans.
It was concluded that the stem cell treatment was safe and effective and showed promise as a first-line treatment for rapidly evolving severe MS. Further studies are needed to compare this treatment with standard disease-modifying drugs.
Sona’s “I was very fortunate to attend the American Academy of Neurology 70th Annual Meeting, the world’s largest gathering of neurologists, held in Los Angeles this year. I presented my research at this international conference and attended several inspiring talks and symposiums. This was a great experience for me, and I gained several transferable skills, which are invaluable in my future academic career.
Through interacting with other Multiple Sclerosis experts, I received valuable feedback on my project and had several interesting conversations, which has further interested me to continue my research work.
During the conference, I attended the Young Researcher Symposium and the Medical student symposiums. This was a great way for me to learn about other aspects of research, for example how to write up my research for publication. Learning from other medical student’s experiences in Neurology research was also valuable.
I particularly enjoyed the neuroanatomy talks, which helped me develop a logical approach to problem-solving, localising lesions and diagnosing patients. It was inspiring to learn about current research topics in the plenary sessions. By interacting with drug companies, I learnt about new therapies, for example, Ocrelizumab. This is another area I am interested in. I have therefore completed a critical analysis of the Phase 3 trial article.
Overall attending these additional talks at the conference was very inspiring. I am now more motivated to continue multiple sclerosis research and to improve patient care further.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank MS Research and Education. I appreciate all your support towards my research career. Following this, I have completed a Masters in Clinical Neurology at the University of Sheffield, achieving a Distinction. I also received the Clinical Neurology Prize for the highest achieving student in the Dissertation. This has been possible due to the research experience of presenting at the AAN meeting.”
MS Research is delighted to be able to support upcoming talent in medical research and we wish Sona the very best of luck for her future career and studies.