Miracle treatment cures student of Multiple Sclerosis

Jackie Quist
Miracle treatment cures student of Multiple Sclerosis

A Melbourne student's life has been transformed by radical stem cell treatment for an aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis.

Seven News viewers helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to send Aziz Helou to Germany for the extraordinary life-saving treatment.

It is hard to believe a fit young man like Mr Helou was ever desperately ill, but Multiple Sclerosis (MS) left the law student barely able to walk and facing a grim future.

"I was destined for a nursing home or death; it was really that simple," he told Seven News.

Monthly treatments in Melbourne had failed to curb his rare, aggressive and debilitating form of Multiple Sclerosis and his only hope was an expensive stem cell transplant overseas.

Mr Helou and his parents reached out to the Australian public for help.

In a huge outpouring of support, generous Seven News viewers helped raise $100,000, and within months, Mr Helou was a patient in Germany's Heidelberg University Hospital.

German doctors harvested millions of stem cells from the patient's blood, then wiped out his immune system with chemotherapy.

His stem cells were then re-injected and his immune system re-booted free of Multiple Sclerosis.

"It's given me back my life," he said.

"It's given me the ability to move, run freely, think freely and work where I couldn't before. It's given me my freedom back."

Mr Helou says his recovery is complete but warns the treatment is not a cure for all MS sufferers.

While in Germany, the 26-year-old developed serious heart and lung infections which almost killed him.

"The doctors say I got as close to death as one can," he said.

"I felt like I had the backing of a country to be honest and that really helped me to pull through."

A year on, while doctors can find no trace of MS, there are no guarantees the radical treatment will last a life-time.

Dr Matthew Miles, of MS Research Australia, said: "We need many longer studies to really understand that. It will take time to decipher."

For now, Mr Helou is celebrating.

"As long as I live, I'll be eternally grateful," he said.