Mexico treatment aims to stop MS taking Leeds dad's mobility

AN MS patient has embarked on pioneering treatment in Mexico in a bid to halt the disease he fears will stop him walking his daughter down the aisle.

Sunday, 14th August 2016, 8:20 am
Updated Sunday, 14th August 2016, 9:34 am
Tim Thomson with his wife Karen and children Phoebe and Jordan.

Tim Thomson is to undergo a stem cell transplant which he hopes will stop his MS from progressing.

The dad and granddad from Pudsey has seen his mobility get much worse over the last 18 months.

“I have three children and a grandson. My middle daughter is engaged to be married and it would be nice to be able to walk her down the aisle.

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“But if it is next year, the likelihood is she will be wheeling me down the aisle.”

He decided to undergo the procedure after reading a story in the Yorkshire Evening Post about Kate Dawson, from Wakefield, who had it earlier this year.

Tim and his wife Karen are now fundraising to cover the cost – £45,000 in Mexico and another £15,000 for continuing care back in the UK.

Tim, 52, was diagnosed with MS in 2006 after suddenly losing all movement down one side of his body. Tests showed it was the neurological condition.

Initially he suffered attacks, but recovered to some extent between relapses. However over time, it became the progressive form of the disease which means symptoms continue to worsen.

“Every day is seriously challenging,” he said.

“My walking is seriously impaired. The biggest thing is fatigue as once I am fatigued, it impacts on all my other symptoms.”

He had heard about the stem cell treatment but didn’t think it was suitable for him.

But after seeing Kate’s story, he looked into it further and realised it could help.

His wife Karen said: “We genuinely didn’t think we could be able to get Tim treated with this. It really is down to the newspaper story.”

The couple will be in Mexico for over a month while Tim undergoes the gruelling treatment, which aims to “reset” the immune system.

“It’s an opportunity to draw a line in the sand so I don’t get any worse,” Tim, who runs a property development business, added.

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The treatment involves creating a new immune system from the patient’s own stem cells.

Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT) sees stem cells being harvested from bone marrow. Chemotherapy then destroys the patient’s current immune system and the stem cells are reintroduced, rebooting the immune system. In some patients it has halted the disease and others have seen an improvement - research in Sheffield reported “remarkable results” for some patients. Treatment continues with infusions back in the UK.