A phase III clinical trial utilizing autologous [the patient’s own] mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has begun, and could offer relief to the millions suffering from ALS. The study is being conducted by Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics with a grant of $16 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine [CIRM].Brainstorm has developed a proprietary method [called NurOwn] for inducing MSCs to secrete neurological growth factors, which exhibits the ability to perpetuate the life of neurons experiencing rapid degradation in ALS patients. In previous clinical trials the treatment demonstrated the ability to slow the progression of ALS immediately following the treatment. The new trial seeks to prolong these beneficial effects.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic are researching stem cell treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the onset of which remains unknown and the cure for which has yet to be discovered. For patients with ALS, motor neurons in the brain, which are in charge of basic muscle movement, are destroyed, causing paralysis or severe lack of muscle control. The phase I clinical study is investigating the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), known for their ability to support neural growth and survival, to prevent the premature neuron degradation normally associated with ALS, and/or their ability to slow the progression of the disease.