Stem Cells May Hold Promise for Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS)
SAN DIEGO – Apparent stem cell transplant success in mice may hold promise for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. The results of the study were released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013. "There have been remarkable strides in stem cell transplantation when it comes to other diseases, such as cancer and heart failure," said study author Stefania Corti, MD, PhD, with the University of Milan in Italy and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "ALS is a fatal, progressive, degenerative disease that currently has no cure. Stem cell transplants may represent a promising avenue for effective cell-based treatment for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases."
For the study, mice with an animal model of ALS were injected with human neural stem cells taken from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). iPSC are adult cells such as skin cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state. Neurons are a basic building block of the nervous system, which is affected by ALS. After injection, the stem cells migrated to the spinal cord of the mice, matured and multiplied.
The study found that stem cell transplantation significantly extended the lifespan of the mice by 20 days and improved their neuromuscular function by 15 percent.
"Our study shows promise for testing stem cell transplantation in human clinical trials," said Corti.
The study was supported by AriSLA - The Italian Foundation for Research on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Learn more about ALS at http://www.aan.com/patients.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 25,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.
Angela Babb, APR
Program Manager, Media & Public Relations