HSCT: Denis Fedorenko, a Family Man Who ‘Instills Confidence’

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Dr. Denis Fedorenko

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog article are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Multiple Sclerosis. 

For a man who is at the forefront of HSCT treatments given to patients with both relapsing and progressive types of multiple sclerosis, Dr. Denis Fedorenko is a modest and quietly spoken family man.

At the A.A. Maximov Center in Moscow, Dr. Fedorenko is responsible for autoimmune diseases and transplantation. But what does the world know about the man himself; what about Denis?

Professionally, he is a hematologist and that, of course, explains why he was first attracted to the world of HSCT — it being a hematological therapy, not a neurological one.

Dr. Denis Fedorenko.
Dr. Denis Fedorenko.

He graduated from the Medical Military Academy as a doctor in 1999, and spent two years working as a GP before completing a postgraduate degree in hematology and immunology at the same medical school in St Petersburg. He finally completed his medical training in 2005. That was when he joined the A.A. Maximov Center, and that same year was when Moscow started treating multiple sclerosis patients.

When he first joined the center, doctors were using the myeloablative HSCT procedure, a cancer treatment, to also treat autoimmunology patients. That was changed to non-myeloablative for MS and similar diseases.

But isn’t myeloablative more effective?

“No, it is not, as far as MS and other autoimmune illnesses are concerned,” Dr. Fedorenko said.

“Cancer is a fatal illness and so our goal is to save the patient’s life. We have to treat both red and white cells. But MS is not fatal and so our goal is different. Now we are seeking  to halt the disease and give the patient an improved quality of life. To do this, we only need to treat the lymphoid cells, not the red cells that carry oxygen. And that, in simple terms, is the difference between myeloablative and non-myeloablative HSCT.

“When treating autoimmune diseases, we need the correct treatment, not one designed to fight cancer. We have found non-myeloablative therapy is just as effective in autoimmune cases, is less toxic and has a lower risk or mortality,” he said.

These days, the doctor has created a family of very happy HSCT veterans. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say they adore him, not only for the treatment but also for the way he is with his patients. Especially for how he is always ready to reassure and comfort them, and to explain the procedure; in short, for his excellent bedside manner.

Julia Browning, who was a patient of Dr. Fedorenko just three months ago, said: “He’s lovely with all his patients, always ready to talk and is so calming when you encounter darker moments. He instills confidence.”

Family man: Married with baby son

Denis Fedorenko, 39, was born in a small town in central Russia in December 1976. He is married to another doctor,  a dermatologist named Anna. But the female Dr.  Fedorenko is not working at the moment because the couple have a young son, Artem. He is nearly 8 months old.

Asked about how he spends his free time and whether he has a hobby, Dr. Fedorenko did his best to suppress a laugh. “All I need to do is relax and enjoy time with my family,” he said. “I have no time for a hobby. At most, I enjoy an occasional walk in a forest.”

Dr. Fedorenko is dedicated to his wife, son, and the many patients who pass through the A.A. Maximov Center.

As I reported a week ago, he believes he can cure MS with autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation – and there are plenty of satisfied patients who agree with him, although there are some who entertain doubts.

It must be noted that places that offer HSCT, a stem-cell transplant and all-important chemotherapy procedure, are providing a treatment that is still being tested and has not yet been approved for MS. The myeloablative procedure is, of course, approved as a cancer therapy.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Ian Franks is Managing Editor of the Columns division of BioNews Services. He has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media; during which 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 and uses his skills to write his own flourishing specialist MS, Health & Disability blog at www.50shadesofsun.com. 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.
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    • Linda S. says:

      Right, my doctor is in India and much, much more busy than ours and also has kind and not arrogant bedside manners.

  1. Pina Spadaro. says:

    Estimados: Es la noticia que mas alegra a mi corazón en muchísimo tiempo.
    Mis sinceras “felicitaciones al Dr. Denis Fedorenko”
    Creo que su cara de alegría lo transmite todo.
    Gracias, gracias, gracias…

  2. Megan says:

    I am currently in Russia having HSCT with Dr Fedorenko. Thank you for this article – every word rings true and I am forever grateful to Russia and Dr Fedorenko. I wish this treatment was available now in Australia, but hope in time it will. Thank you again for such a well written piece. Megan

    • Loretta Perryman says:

      Hi Megan,

      My name is Loretta, also from Australia. I am due to travel to Russia in November to hopefully have HSCT too. Do you have any words of advice for a fellow Australian travelling to Russia? I agree with you that this should be offered in Australia!

      Good luck with your treatment,

  3. Donna says:

    I was in Russia last year for HSCT treatment and believe it was the best decision I could have made. Like many other patients, I will be forever grateful to Dr Fedorenko and Anastasia for the treatment and care I received in Russia. The improvements I have experienced since treatment are amazing. Hopefully it will be available in Australia soon.

  4. Louise says:

    I had treatment in Moscow in 2014 for SPMS. It was the best thing. I am now able to work full time and able to care for myself and family. Scans to date identify my disease is halted and I have more improvements than I expected. Forever grateful to Dr Fedorenko, Anastasia and all the staff in the hospital. I wish Drs from Australia would show more interest and learn from a wonderful Dr like Dr Fedorenko. There are so many people who would benefit from this treatment.

    • Gary Sanders says:

      Hi I have SPMS and I was told that HSCT was not a option for me Are you able to give more information and how successful is it with SPMS people Thanks Gary

  5. KATE MYCOE says:


    • Ian Franks says:

      Hi Kate, yes I can help you.

      Denis A. Fedorenko MD, PhD, and Anastasia K.Panchenko,
      The A.A. Maximov Department of Hematology and Cellular Therapy,
      National Pirogov Medical Surgical Center,
      70 Nijnia Pervomayskaya,
      Moscow 105 203, Russia
      Call number:.+7 903 170 8606
      E – mail: panchenkoak@mail.ru
      E – mail: msclerosis@yandex.ru
      Web site: http://www.gemclinic.ru

      That telephone is a direct line to Anastasia, Dr Fedorenko’s assistant. She is very helpful and speaks English (as does Dr F). You need to start by talking to her.

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