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Race against time for MS stem cell treatment


A man from Hartlepool is facing a race against time to raise the funds required for a pioneering stem cell treatment for his aggressive multiple sclerosis.

Father-of-five Eric Thomson has so far raised £12,000, but he needs £35,000 in total to be able to undergo the treatment in Mexico on June 20th 2016.

Thomson, 49, who is battling primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), is delighted to have been given a date for the stem cell operation, but now faces raising another £23,000 to be able to pay for it.

A perfect stem cell match is required to undergo stem cell treatment so the body does not reject donated cells, subjecting the patient to a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs. The only non-invasive, pain- free way to harvest stem cells is from a naturally shed tooth.

Adult teeth removed for other reasons, such as wisdom teeth, can be used to retrieve stem cells, with those taken from the tooth of a 39-year-old man by BioEden used to successfully treat his diabetes last year.

However, the best stem cells are those taken from baby teeth, as they will have not started to decay or been subjected to pollutants.

Thomson and his family, of Jowitt Road, raised over £12,000 through crowdfunding website GoFundMe and fundraising events, including taking part in charity swim the Hartlepool Boxing Day Dip and putting on an 80s night in March.

More fundraising events are lined up, with Thomson’s wife Joanne planning to climb Ben Nevis in May as the final fundraiser. If the necessary funds are not raised in time, Thomson will have to wait for an alternative date for the operation.

If the funds are raised and the operation is successful, former Camerons Brewery worker Thomson, whose mobility is affected by his condition, aims to get a new job by 2017.