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Bone Marrow Stem Cell Transplants Could Advance ALS Treatment

First Posted: May 16, 2017 04:20 AM EDT
Stem Cells For Treatment Of ALS
Bone marrow stem cell transplants helped improved the motor functions and increased the motor neuron survival of mice with symptoms of ALS disease.
(Photo : Mayo Clinic/YouTube screenshot)

The researchers discovered that bone marrow stem cell transplants may advance the treatment of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The transplants enhanced the motor functions and nervous system conditions in mice with ALS that modeled in the study. It repaired the damage to the blood-spinal cord barrier of mice with ALS.

The findings of the study were printed in the journal Scientific Reports. The research was led by scientists from the University of South Florida. The researchers said that the research could be the first step in engaging stem cells for the potential repair of blood-spinal cord barrier that is the key in the development of ALS, according to Science Daily.

USF Health Professor Svitlana Garbuzova-Davis, Ph.D. and the lead author of the study, said that this is the first research advancing barrier repair that treats symptomatic mice that closely mirror conditions for human patients. The scientists have used stem cells to repair the function lost in the neurodegenerative disorders or injuries. These could also generate into various cell types in the body.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease and motor neuron disease (MND). This disease causes the deterioration and death of neurons that control voluntary muscles. The cause of this disease is unclear in about 90 percent to 95 percent of cases. The remaining 5 percent to 10 percent could be inherited from a person's parents. There are about 6,000 American who are diagnosed with ALS each year.

The study involved mice that already have symptoms of ALS. The scientists gave them intravenous treatments of one of three various doses of bone marrow stem cells. These stem cells were taken from human bone marrow. They were attached to vascular walls of many capillaries and began the process of blood-spinal cord barrier repair.

The results showed that the stem cell treatment delayed the enhancement of the disease and improved the motor function of the mice. It also enhanced and increased the motor neuron survival. 

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