New stem cell therapy provides long-term brain protection against ALS
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai have developed a stem cell therapy that protects patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This new procedure increases the possibility that a treatment can delay the disease progression after one treatment.
The therapy helped motor neurons to live, which usually impacts the spinal cord in patients with this disease. Dr. Clive Svendsen from Cedar Sinai said that these proteins can get past the blood brain barrier that is often a challenging obstacle.
The stem cells created a protein called glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). This protein aids the motor neurons that allow the communication with the spinal cord for movement to happen in the a normal human body. There were no side effects in this trial.
The research team wanted to demonstrate that stem cells prepared in Svendsen’s laboratory would generate the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). If motor neurons can send signals between the brain and spinal cord, patients do not lose muscle movement as a consequence to the disease.
Neurological teams were concerned about side effects and the obstacle of the patients’ blood-brain barrier using this procedure. The blood-brain barrier, or BBB, serves as a structural and functional roadblock to potentially harmful microorganisms including parasites, viruses or bacteria in a person’s bloodstream.
“We were able to show that the engineered stem cell product can be safely transplanted in the human spinal cord. And after a one-time treatment, these cells can survive and produce an important protein for over three years that is known to protect motor neurons that die in ALS,” Svendsen says.
Please watch this space.
Our Editorial Note: Above is our brief summary of a recent clinical trial. Contact us if you would like to learn more about regenerative medicine and how it may help patients with their medical conditions.