HSCT in Moscow, Day by Day

ms-headerDoesn’t time fly? It seems only yesterday that I was preparing to go to Moscow, yet tomorrow will be three weeks since my return. (Note: Now four weeks).

I have written enough about my experiences at the AA Maximov center so, today, we’ll take a look at how HSCT progresses, step by step.

The following is reproduced from the Moscow clinic’s instruction schedule. I hope that you find it interesting.


8.30 – 9am          Breakfast

12pm                     Second breakfast

2pm                       Lunch

6pm                       Dinner

Steps of Treatment

Stem cells stimulation – 4 days (sometimes 5-6 days, depending on the results of stem cell collections) in combination with infusion of steroids at 11am (1 dose – 200 ml liquid for 20-40 min).

Also, patient takes 1 antacid pill twice day 30 mins before food (before breakfast and before dinner).

G-CSF stimulation injections (subcutaneous) at 11 pm and 3 am.


That’s me in my new wheelchair in the HSCT centre in Moscow, with Dr Fedorenko and assistant Anastasia.

Insertion of special catheter in neck for stem cell collection and chest X-ray control.

Collection of stem cells (for 1 or 2, sometimes 3 days), (we need to collect 2 or more million hematopoietic stem cells per kg of body weight) .

Removal of neck catheter and insertion of new catheter for chemotherapy and further treatment.

Chemotherapy (4 days).

1-2 days of rest (receiving only supportive medication infusions twice a day).

From the beginning of chemotherapy: patient takes oral medications 3 times a day (antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, PPI gastro protection).

Pills for breakfast —  1 antacid pill before food. Other pills — after food. Pills for lunch — 1 pill after food. Pills for dinner — 1 antacid pill before food. Other pills — after food. Patient has additional oral medications on Mon, Wed, Fri — co-trimoxasole (2 white big pills — morning, evening). Patient has 2 supportive medication infusions in the evening.

Food Allowed during treatment: Most food from outside the hospital is suitable.

Foods to be Avoided during treatment: Fresh fish, e.g., sushi, raw meat, un-pasteurised milk or milk products, see note below. Fast food outlets, fresh vegetables and fruits.

Day of transplantation. Patient should avoid food after 12 pm on this day. Nurses Will clean and prepare room for transplantation.

Isolation. Patient should never leave the room. Patient should keep the glass door closed. Medical staff will clean the room every day. Patient’s suitcases will be removed. Patient should heat up food (approx. 10-20 seconds) in the microwave before consuming. Patient should use a special solution for mouthwash (mix half of cup of red solution with cap of water). Patient should use provided clorhexidine solutions for washing body — big bottle for genital area and small for legs/arms/body. Our staff will change bedding and wash clothing every day.

A patient must inform medical staff immediately of any problems or changes in condition.

Food Allowed during Isolation: Tinned food, e.g., vegetables or tuna, Bread, Coffee, Tea, Dried fruit, Fruit Juice, Spices, herbs, Lollies/sweets, Nuts — roasted and salted. Processed food, e.g., muesli bars, packets of soup, noodles, Milk and Yoghurt conforming to hospital standards.

Food Restrictions during Isolation: Fresh vegetables and fruits, Milk and Yoghurt products that don ‘t conform to hospital standards. Raw nuts, toasted muesli — unless it is microwaved first – Fresh fish, e.g., sushi, raw meat.

Patient receives one infusion of Rituximab (for 5 hours) after recovery of leukocytes (1 or 2 days before discharge).

This article, written by me, first appeared on Multiple Sclerosis News Today.

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ian profile50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who is Managing Editor (columns division) of BioNews Services. BioNews is owner of 50 disease/didorder-specific news and information websites – including MS News Today. Ian has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.


7 thoughts on “HSCT in Moscow, Day by Day

  1. I would like to know how old you are, I am 55 and have progressed from RRMS to progressiveMS.I have been diagnosed in 2005. My sister 6 years my junior also has had PMS for 18 years now. we are both wheelchair bound.
    We would like to know more about how painful the process is? and of course the dangers?


    • I am just 64 but the cut-off age is, I think 65. More importantly, you say you are both wheelchair-bound; do you mean that you cannot walk at all, even with a walking aid? If that is the case, I fear that you may be turned away. However, you should check with the clinics, to make sure. It is not pain-free but what procedure is. As for the dangers, in my opinion they are a lot lower than risks from side-effects of disease modifying therapies.


      • You need to be in good health and transfer. This procedure is not for the weak. The chemo is brutal but will destroy the MS. I am here now


      • Hi Ian,
        I am 57 and scheduled for HSCT in Mexico on the 27th February 2017, I was first diagnosed late 2012 and now progressed into a PPMS state, can you give me some contacts that were also in a PPMS state and had the HSCT treatment with success.


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