Researchers in Jerusalem have found that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) engineered to secrete neurotrophic growth factors (NTFs), may help to slow the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) without lasting and unwanted effects. Researchers found that among the 12 participants of the study, ages 20 through 75, who received a single injection of these MSC-NTFs cells, there were no major adverse effects reported. The most common side effects noted over the six-month follow up period where headache and fever, affecting a total of 5 patients. The same side effects were true for an additional 14 patients who participated in the second –stage dose escalation portion of the study. There was no evidence of infection or tumor formation at the site of injection. On average, the decline in percentage predicted forced vital capacity (FVC) was 5.1% per month, however, after stem cell transplantation the average FVC per patient was 1.2% per month, a significant decrease. Over 80% of the patients who participated in the study showed some degree of improvement at both three months and six months. Researchers also noted during the follow up period that there was a noticeable slowing of muscle volume decline.
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