The FDA has cleared the way for Neuralstem to begin the first human trial of a stem cell therapy for Lou Gehrig's disease, and the news lit a fire under its stock that fueled a 57 percent hike in its share price.
Researchers will recruit 12 patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a fatal disease with no therapy approved to treat it. Each of the patients will get up to 10 injections of the developer's neural stem cells in the spine. The company is out to determine if the treatment is safe and can slow down the degenerative process that leads to paralysis and death.
"In work with animals, these spinal cord stem cells both protected at-risk motor neurons and made connections to the neurons controlling muscles," says Dr. Eva L. Feldman, a principal investigator. "We don't want to raise expectations unduly, but we believe these stem cells could produce similar results in patients with ALS."