Early-stage ALS stem cell study clears initial safety hurdle

A very small, early-stage clinical trial of a new fetal stem cell therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is hinting at its potential success. A team of investigators from the University of Michigan and Atlanta's Emory University say that the trial involving five ALS patients has produced no serious side effects.

Significantly, the scientific team says, there's no sign that the stem cell therapy is being rejected by the study subjects, who have had the fetal stem cells injected into their spines since January.

"So far, there have been no problems with sensation," Dr. Eva Feldman, director of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute on the University of Michigan campus, tells the Detroit News. "There have been no untoward side effects."  

The first three patients received injections on one side of their spine, with the next two getting five injections on each side of their spine. If the investigators reach the second phase of the study they will begin to determine any improvement in disease progression.

- here's the story from the Detroit News