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Keywords:

  • extracorporeal photochemotherapy;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • photopheresis;
  • psoralene;
  • UVA

Background/purpose:  Extracorporeal photochemotherapy (ECP) has been proposed for the treatment of various auto- and allo-immune reactions. However, a standard ECP regimen did not significantly alter the course of chronic progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). We tested whether an intensive ECP treatment can affect the course of secondary chronic progressive form of MS.

Methods: Five patients free of immunosuppression were included. Soluble 8-MOP was added ex vivo to a mononuclear cell suspension obtained in a cell separator. This cellular suspension was then irradiated using an UVA irradiator and re-infused into the patient. ECP was performed once a week for 6 weeks and then, depending on clinical evaluation, for a maximum of 6 months, with 2-year follow-up after treatment discontinuation. Scoring was performed with the Kurzke scale and EDSS by a single independent neurologist.

Results: One patient was excluded because of recurrent attacks at the very beginning of treatment. Four patients completed the study: one exhibited clinical improvement and three remained stable during the first 6 months of treatment. However, all experienced relapse or worsening of the disease after discontinuation of ECP treatment.

Conclusion:  Our intensive ECP treatment only transiently alters the course of the severe secondary chronic progressive form of MS, with rebound after treatment discontinuation.