Finding Hope in an Experimental Treatment

Listen 49:39
Bobby Flynn and Jessie Flynn

Bobby Flynn and Jessie Flynn (courtesy of Jessie Flynn)

Jessie Flynn decided she’d had enough. For years, multiple sclerosis had taken more and more away from her life — her ability to move, her freedom, the job she loved, even her marriage. Now it seemed like medical treatments and physical therapy were no longer halting the illness’ progression — it seemed like she was on a rapid slide toward immobility. She wanted hope, and she wanted options. So she decided to try an experimental treatment called HSCT, which is not yet approved in the U.S. It came with great risks and a staggering price tag — which Jessie was willing to take on against her medical team’s advice.

Many patients find themselves in a similar place; a new treatment promises results, some experts call it a breakthrough — others caution that it’s not as good as it seems, or worse yet, a scam that takes advantage of vulnerable people.

On this episode, we examine the crossroads where desperate patients and experimental treatments meet.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal