What is ALS?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a neurological condition that causes the brain’s motor neurons (the cells responsible for operating organs and muscles) to gradually break down and die. As the neurons break down, the body loses its ability to control the muscles needed to eat, breathe, move, and speak.
While the causes of ALS remain a mystery to the medical community, it is known that approximately five to ten percent of cases are inherited. Researchers are also currently studying factors such as gene mutation, chemical imbalances, and disorganized immune responses as possible causes. There is no cure for ALS.
How can Celltex stem cell therapy help?
Stem cell therapies for ALS are actively being explored. According to the ALS association, stem cells represent both an important tool to discover the origins of ALS and to generate new therapeutics. The therapeutic potential of stem cells, including neural stem cells derived from embryonic stem cells and autologous injected Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs), are being explored to improve function and slow decline.
Under certain conditions, the injected MSCs may release neurotrophic, pro-angiogenic, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory factors. MSCs under certain conditions may release brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), and basic growth factors (bFGF) to protect injured neurons, inhibit neuron apoptosis, induce neuron survival, and stimulate endogenous neural progenitors proliferation and differentiation, as well as encourage synaptic connection from damaged neurons. MSCs may also produce an extracellular matrix to support neural cell attachment, growth, and extension. It is of interest to explore MSCs for treatment of ALS clinical symptoms given their neurotropic properties and their ability to reduce neuroinflammation, and research is underway to validate this and determine the best conditions to maximize the potential therapeutic response. Transplantation of MSCs in humans for a variety of conditions has, to date, been generally well tolerated.
Research articles on use of stem cells in the treatment of ALS: