MS rehabilitation after stem cell transplantation (aHSCT)

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (aHSCT) in MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system. As a result of something going wrong in the immune system, the layer around the nerves (myelin) is attacked and damaged. Nerves are thereby exposed and do not transmit signals to and from the brain as well as they should. Sometimes this does not happen at all. This can lead to sudden symptoms of paralysis and invalidation.

Currently, in the Netherlands, regular treatment with medication is aimed at slowing down the disease, reducing attacks and controlling the symptoms. Given the erratic nature of the disease, there is no standard treatment, and for some patients the medication does not work or barely works.

In the Netherlands, stem cell transplantation for MS is not one of the options to choose from when it comes to treating the disease. In recent years, we have seen many people with MS going abroad to receive stem cell therapy. In many Western countries, this treatment is offered to MS patients.

Several studies show that treatment with so-called stem cells can be very effective. For example, research shows that as many as 85 per cent of patients three years after stem cell therapy notice no further symptoms of the disease. After six years, that figure is about 65 per cent, and after eight years, 60 per cent of patients continue to experience no symptoms. And should the disease recur, it is often in a milder form.


The aim of aHSCT is to “reset” the immune system so that inflammatory cells no longer attack the brain, as occurs in people with active MS. Stem cells are very important for repairing damage in the human body. From stem cells, several other types of cells can arise. In this case, stem cells from the blood are used; they can form different types of inflammatory cells and therefore rebuild the immune system. However, this type of stem cell cannot repair organs or tissues, hence aHSCT cannot repair permanent nerve damage.


In summary, the treatment with aHSCT consists of three steps. First, stem cells are taken from the patient’s blood or bone marrow and temporarily frozen. Secondly, the patient is given chemotherapy and antibodies to eliminate the immune system. Finally, the patient receives his/her own stem cells back via an infusion, which rebuilds the immune system.


Several studies have shown the treatment to be effective in a large proportion of people with MS. This group remained free of “relapses” for several years and no new active lesions were found on MRI images. Remarkably, the treatment can lead to stabilisation of the disease and, in some people, even to recovery of loss of function.

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Chiel (Michael) & Aty Visser-Dekker, The Netherlands

Michael arrived in Moraira in a wheelchair and left with only a cane as a (temporary) support when walking. Far better than we had ever hoped for! Far better than we had ever hoped for!

Nanda, the Netherlands

Really, what a fantastic rehabilitation center! Just got back 2.5 weeks after hip surgery. What a professional and lovely beautiful people! Highly recommended for anyone who gets "no" aftercare here, I recommend: go to Spain and Medifit ... health insurers reimburse this. Fantastic team!!
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Esther, the Netherlands

From the first moment that my wife Esther came to Spain to the last moment she was taken care of. Esther's recovery has been worked on both physically and spiritually and with success! We have never regretted it and will recommend it to anyone!
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Debbie, the Netherlands

You can literally leave the daily worries at home and focus completely on your recovery, both mentally and physically. A great concept and great lovely people! I have a goal again and see the future a bit, it was zero for this adventure!
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Jos Jansen, the Netherlands

I trained hard with the therapists for 8 weeks. As a result, I now have much more stamina. I also feel much better. The healthy air on the Costa Blanca has also helped.

Chiel (Michael) & Aty Visser-Dekker, The Netherlands

Michael arrived in Moraira in a wheelchair and left with only a cane as a (temporary) support when walking. Far better than we had ever hoped for!
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Henny Vissers - Witte, the Netherlands

For all fellow sufferers, no matter how sad the circumstances are, when you visit the rehabilitation clinic in Moraira, you can learn a lot with the cooperation of this fantastic team of therapists, both physically and mentally!
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Klaas Jan Hindriks - Foreign Correspondent NOS, the Netherlands

Your organization and treatment center is not only distinguished by its medical knowledge, but above all by the dedication and inspiring support of the extremely experienced employees.
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Mildred May, The Hague

I was made to feel very comfortable by the lovely caring therapists. I also stayed in a nice apartment where I got some rest. These 6 weeks have made me a lot stronger and more confident.
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