As science continues to uncover the benefits of stem cell therapy, many trials and studies are bringing their focus to conditions with limited treatment options. The neurodegenerative condition amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is one of the conditions that greatly needs new treatment methods to slow its progression. Fortunately, recent clinical trials offer promising results. Here we will discuss Stem cell therapy for ALS.
What Is ALS?
ALS affects the nerve cells present in the brain and spinal cord. In ALS patients, the motor neurons that carry messages from the brain to the spinal cord and then to the body’s muscles progressively die off. As they die, the brain can no longer communicate with the muscles, so patients lose muscle action.
The loss of muscle control may begin with walking and standing, but patients can lose the ability to move, speak, eat, and breathe over time.
How Can Stem Cell Therapy Help ALS Patients?
Stem cells are the building blocks of cells. When prompted to divide, stem cells can either form more stem cells or become specialized cells, such as brain cells or nerve cells. Those new, specialized cells have the potential to repair and replace damaged cells.
Stem cell therapy is an inspiring option in treating ALS since researchers believe the treatment could support new cell growth and help manage the body’s immune system response. Additionally, stem cells offer the potential to regenerate the damaged motor neurons that are characteristic of the disease.
Clinical Trial Results
In an analysis of six clinical trials that examined the benefits of stem cell treatments in slowing the progression of ALS, all six trials showed stem cell therapy slowed the advancement of the disease. However, in two studies, the results were not statistically significant.
All of the studies that followed patients for six months after their stem cell treatments saw significant differences in the results of patients’ ALSFRS-R reports. Patients within the treatment groups experienced a notable slowing in the disease’s progression. In examining the methodologies of the studies analyzed, there are techniques and types of stem cells that show improved results. Notably, the most effective delivery of stem cells to slow ALS in patients is through injections into the fluid-filled space surrounding the spinal cord. In addition, studies using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) also saw more significant results than other stem cell therapies. To learn more contact a care coordinator today at Stemedix!