Blair Breaks Down Her MS Treatment in the New Year
- In a new video shared to Instagram, actress Selma Blair, 49, updates fans on her Multiple sclerosis (MS) progress and treatment. In the video, she talks about her IVIG therapy, staying hydrated during infusions, and the stem cell transplant she received.
- MS is a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of the body’s nerves; she has used chemotherapy to treat it.
- A stem cell transplant – also called a “bone marrow transplant” – is a treatment used for some cancers and it replaces bone marrow with healthy cells; Blair used it to treat her MS.
She calls the ability to get infusions at home “a luxury,” and shares with fans in an intimate new video how she maintains her MS treatment.Read More
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“I am very lucky that these days are not painful for me. I’m doing well. But yes, I’m still in it but feeling much better,” she continues.
The actress says of doing IVIG at home, “This is kind of like my big luxury. To get IVIG and to get to do it at home.” She explains, “This is something that I’ve done before the stem cell transplant. It’s very important to hydrate, especially when you’re getting infusions. You want to hydrate all those cells,” she says.
Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy is a therapy treatment for people who have antibody deficiencies. Rheumatology.org explains how IVIG “is prepared from a pool of immunoglobulins (antibodies) from the plasma of thousands of healthy donors. Immunoglobulins are made by the immune system of healthy people for the purpose of fighting infections.”
For people battling MS whose immune system negatively impacts the body’s nerves, this treatment may be effective in several ways. In a 2003 study published in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences, titled “The role of intravenous immunoglobulin in the treatment of multiple sclerosis,” the study results show that IVIG has “several effects on the immune system that could have a beneficial influence on disease processes in multiple sclerosis (MS).” The study explains how, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, IVIG can be beneficial in the treatment of relapses, and the prevention of new relapses. “By promoting remyelination,” the study explains, “IVIG could have a beneficial effect on disability and disease progression.”
Blair’s MS Battle
Blair was diagnosed with MS in 2018. This disease causes the immune system to eat away at the protective covering of the body’s nerves. MS disrupts communication between the brain and the body. Symptoms of the disease can include vision loss, pain, fatigue, and impaired coordination. Blair uses a cane to support her through the effects of MS.
Following her diagnosis, Blair took to Instagram to share the news with fans and followers. In a 2018 post discussing her illness, she wrote candidly: “I have multiple sclerosis. I am in an exacerbation…I am disabled…”
She wrote to fans, “…I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps. But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best. Since my diagnosis at ten thirty pm on The night of August 16, I have had love and support from my friends…” Blair has used chemotherapy, a common treatment for cancer, to treat her MS. As she notes in her Instagram video, she also had a stem cell transplant.
What is a Stem Cell Transplant?
A stem cell transplant – also called a “bone marrow transplant” – is a treatment used for some cancers and it replaces bone marrow with healthy cells. Blair used it to treat her MS. Stem cell transplants can treat MS by resetting the immune system and stopping the inflammation which contributes to MS.
Stem cell transplants may be used as cancer therapy for some cancers, too. They’re most commonly used for people diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma, and they may also be used for neuroblastoma and multiple myeloma.
A stem cell transplant also wipes out the immune system, leaving a person more vulnerable to infections. As a result, this kind of treatment requires staying away from people and avoiding certain foods that could make you sick.
In an earlier interview, Dr. Caitlin Costello, a hematologist-oncologist at UC San Diego Health, describes the process leading up to a stem cell transplant, like the one Blair had. She says, “First, we have to prove that you’re as fit and healthy as we think you are, and so patients will go through a variety of testing in order to understand the strength of their heart and their lungs and their liver and their kidneys.”
“And while you are going through this, your donor, if it has not been identified, is being searched for,” says Dr. Costello. “That donor may be a sibling, which is what is ideal. If a sibling is not a match or unavailable, we’ll be looking for an unrelated donor in a worldwide registry.”