Mum with MS hoping Moscow will be ‘light at end of tunnel’

A mum whose life was turned upside down four years ago when she was diagnosed with MS is hoping a new treatment could give her old life back.

Zoe Derrick has described the possibility of getting a treatment that works as a “light at the end of the tunnel”, but she needs to raise at least £35,000 to travel to Moscow for the hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) as it is not available on the NHS.

So far, all attempts to treat the 36-year-old’s condition with drugs have only made her symptoms worse meaning all she can do is wait anxiously for her next relapse.

Zoe, of Coppice Drive, Billinge, said: “We, my husband Paul and I, had been talking about HSCT for about two years and I asked my neurologist about it and he said forget about it.

“They are doing trials for it in the UK but to qualify your lesions have to be active. My brain is covered in these lesions but they won’t become active again until I have a relapse.

“That could be in two years or ten years. And the thing is the MS will continue to progress, so even if it is 10 years before I have a relapse that could leave me in a wheelchair.

“With HSCT, they remove your stem cells then you have chemotherapy to wipe out your immune system before they put the stem cells back in without the MS.

“From the research I have done, the treatment has got rid of people’s symptoms when they have had it, but if the MS has already caused you to develop a disability it would not reverse that.”

“I feel like for the first in four years there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have spoken to people who have had HSCT and their symptoms have completely disappeared which is just amazing.

“We have a few events planned, such as a walk up Snowden, which I probably won’t be able to do, so I will get the train up and meet everyone at the top.”

Zoe is already on the year-long waiting list for HSCT and is hoping to raise enough money in time or she will have to delay treatment for longer.

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stem cell preservation

BSc (Hons) Microbiology

Chief Executive Officer | Biovault Family

Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.

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