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ALS Patients’ Own Stem Cells Show Promise as a Future Treatment Option
Date:2/8/2013

Durham, NC (PRWEB) February 08, 2013

Stem cells taken from ALS patients may have the same capacity to develop into mature neuron-like cells as those collected from healthy donors, according to a new study released this month in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine. These findings could open doors to a possible new treatment option while also reducing the chance for rejection and other side effects often seen when someone other than the patient is the cell donor.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a rapidly deteriorating neurological condition affecting five out of every 100,000 people worldwide, mainly after the age of 50. The average survival time is only three years.

While no effective treatment exists, preliminary studies suggest that the quality of life and even life expectancy itself could be improved in patients who receive stem cell infusions. However, questions remain about the capacity of these cells to “take hold” and turn into neurons.

The study involved stem cells that bear the surface antigen CD133+, which have been shown to have a very low association with creating cancers. These cells can be isolated from a wide range of sources including bone marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord. A group of researchers from the Tecnológico de Monterrey School of Medicine, in Monterrey, Mexico, led by Hector Martinez, M.D., Ph.D., Maria Teresa González-Garza, Ph.D., and Jorge Moreno Cuevas, M.D., Ph.D., recently reported on the effects of CD133+ stem cells taken from peripheral blood of affected patients and transplanted into their own brains.

“In this earlier trial, we provide evidence of a positive clinical response in ALS patients treated with auto-transplantation of CD133+ cells into the frontal motor cortex. However, there was an important question remaining to be answered: Were CD133+ cells obtained from ALS patients capable of transforming into ne
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