A Look Into Stem Cell Therapy For ALS
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rare motor neuron condition in which the nerve cells controlling voluntary muscles gradually degenerate. Patients experience worsening symptoms such as muscle stiffness, weakness, and twitching. As cells are continuously lost, muscles atrophy and weaken, leading to difficulties speaking, breathing, and swallowing.
While there are some treatments available to help control symptoms, there is currently no cure for the condition. Scientists are investigating treatments. One option, in particular, that is being widely researched is stem cell therapy.
How Could Stem Cell Therapy Help ALS Patients?
Stem cell therapy is a form of regenerative medicine. Stem cells are the foundation of virtually all mature, specialized cells. In their studies for ALS, researchers have been taking induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are derived from adults and have the ability to turn into astrocytes or cells that support nerve cells. They have also been investigating mesenchymal stem cells, adult stem cells, from sources such as fat or bone marrow. After the cells are harvested, they are modified in the lab to boost their neurotrophic factors, or abilities to protect nerve cells. Then, they can be injected systemically into an IV or the spinal canal, where they can secrete the beneficial factors.
Results of clinical trials show that patients who received injections in the brain, muscle, or spinal cord have tolerated the treatments well, and the treatments appear to be safe. Moreover, stem cell therapy slowed the disease’s rate of progression during the six-month afterward, compared to the six-month window beforehand.
Additional research is ongoing, and as further results are revealed, scientists will continue to develop a better understanding of how the disease responds to treatments to help refine protocols and promote the best possible patient outcomes.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine, also known as Stem Cell Therapy in Tampa. Regenerative medicine seeks to replace tissue or organs that have been damaged by disease, trauma, or congenital issues.