Finding Hope in an Experimental Treatment

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By WHYY. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Jessie Flynn decided she’d had enough. For years, multiple sclerosis had taken more and more away from her life — her ability to move, her freedom, the job she loved, even her marriage. Now it seemed like medical treatments and physical therapy were no longer halting the illness’ progression — it seemed like she was on a rapid slide toward immobility. She wanted hope, and she wanted options. So she decided to try an experimental treatment called HSCT, which is not yet approved in the U.S. It came with great risks and a staggering price tag — which Jessie was willing to take on against her medical team’s advice.

Many patients find themselves in a similar place; a new treatment promises results, some experts call it a breakthrough — others caution that it’s not as good as it seems, or worse yet, a scam that takes advantage of vulnerable people.

On this episode, we examine the crossroads where desperate patients and experimental treatments meet.

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