Investigators at the University of Wisconsin have made a key breakthrough in the use of adult stem cells to treat ALS. By injecting adult stem cells modified with a growth factor into the muscles of rodents modeled with ALS, they registered a significant 28-day improvement in survival.
The research project follows a study in which investigators were able to protect motor neurons by injecting stem cells directly into the spinal cord but failed to see a corresponding improvement in survival. Their theory was that the motor neurons were failing to reconnect at the muscles and followed up with this new study to see if they could correct that.
This new approach not only increased survival but also improved the function of the diseased animals. More work will need to be done before bringing this therapeutic approach to the clinic.
- read the University of Wisconsin release