The team collected CD133+ cells from 13 patients diagnosed with ALS and then grew the cells in the lab for a period lasting up to 48 hours. At the end of the two days, they saw an increase in neuronal proteins. This suggested that the stem cells were in the early stages of becoming neurons. Furthermore, the expression of some specific genes within the same time period indicated that the fate towards motor neurons, the neurons being destroyed in Lou Gehrig´s patients, was underway.
“No correlation was found between age, sex or ALS functional scale and the CD133+ stem cells response to the neuro-induction medium,” Dr. González-Garza said. “Therefore, we concluded that CD133+ stem cells from ALS patients are capable of differentiating into pre-neuron cells, as well as the stem cells from healthy subjects.”
“These new findings provide the scientific basis for the positive clinical observations in patients with ALS treated by autotransplantation with CD133+ cells in the frontal cortex. But more importantly, they also give credence to the field of stem cell transplantation in other potentially fatal neurodegenerative conditions,” Dr. Cuevas added.
“This study may help explain the positive clinical outcomes obtained by stem cell transplantation in ALS patients and suggest the potential of stem cell therapy for conditions such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease,” said Anthony Atala, M.D., Editor of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
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