“The disease is hardening my heart, my lungs," she said. "When I walk, I feel like I’m walking on stones. Walking up the stairs, I can’t breathe[.]" 45-year-old Yvonne Johnson suffers from scleroderma, a rare disease that hardens internal tissues of the body.
A new procedure to fight scleroderma is providing hope for people with this odd disease Johnson is one of the first to go through a treatment that uses stem cells to make her sclerodermic immune system work against itself in order to recover.
“We just knock down the immune system with immune-specific drugs, re-infuse the stem cells, and the stem cells regenerate a new immune system,” said Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern University, who pioneered the revolutionary treatment[.]
The idea is to use this form of cell therapy to put the scleroderma into remission and allow Johnson to extend a healthy life longer than is expected.
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