I never, previous to this experience, thought I’d be excited at the actuality of my hair falling out, but yes, it’s begun and by that I mean all my hair. Hair on my head, armpit hair, eyelashes, armpit and privates, all starting to shed. The shower drain is beginning to look a bit horrible, and will only get worse I imagine !
What this actually means, is that the stem cells I have had translated back into my system, are beginning to regrow blood and bone marrow cells and the old growth i.e my hair, is dying hence falling out. That’s a bit of a simplistic explanation, and I’m doing some reading up to get a better explanation, but will do at the moment. I suspect I may need to call on some of the medical people around me to assist.
AHSCT using heamatapoietic stem cells (red bone marrow which can turn into required blood cells) changes the balance of cells, with an increase in the cells which regulate and modulate the immune system post this treatment, this is part of the mechanism that helps reduce or remove the likelihood of my immune system attacking the central nervous system myelin sheath. Hence why this treatment stops progression – as has been made very clear, any symptomatic improvement post treatment is a bonus, and more to do with the rehab undertaken than the HSCT itself I suspect.
A promising but very early new area of research is that of using mesenchymal stem cells, from skin, fat and bone marrow, to possibly be able to repair the myelin sheath. The concept of using stem cells that can turn into neuron-like cells to repair damage caused to the myelin sheath is exciting, cutting edge stuff.
Fur further reading, and this where most of the information above comes from, see this link, which is the British MS Society and a very good source of current information.