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Stem Cell Treatment for ALS is Available at ASCI

 

 

ALS - AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS

ALS Stem Cell Treatment

ALS Stem Cell Treatment

 

Stem Cell Treatment for ALS

 

ALS Stem Cell Treatment Case Review

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease  caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input.

The condition is often called Lou Gehrig's disease in North America, after the New York Yankees baseball player who was diagnosed with the disease in 1939. The disorder is characterized by rapidly progressive weakness, muscle atrophy and fasciculations, spasticity, dysarthria, dysphagia, and respiratory compromise. Sensory function generally is spared, as is autonomic, and oculomotor activity. ALS is a progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disease

Signs and symptoms

The disorder causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body caused by degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons. Unable to function, the muscles weaken and atrophy. Affected individuals may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement, although bladder and bowel sphincters and the muscles responsible for eye movement are usually, but not always, spared.

Cognitive function is generally spared for most patients although some (~5%) also have frontotemporal dementia. A higher proportion of patients (~30-50%) also have more subtle cognitive changes which may go unnoticed but are revealed by detailed neuropsychological testing. Sensory nerves and the autonomic nervous system, which controls functions like sweating, are generally unaffected but may be involved for some patients.

Initial symptoms

The earliest symptoms of ALS are typically obvious weakness and/or muscle atrophy. Other presenting symptoms include muscle fasciculation (twitching), cramping, or stiffness of affected muscles; muscle weakness affecting an arm or a leg; and/or slurred and nasal speech. The parts of the body affected by early symptoms of ALS depend on which motor neurons in the body are damaged first. About 75% of people contracting the disease experience "limb onset" ALS.

SOD1

The cause of ALS is not known, though an important step toward determining the cause came in 1993 when scientists discovered that mutations in the gene that produces the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) enzyme were associated with some cases (approximately 20%) of familial ALS. This enzyme is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from damage caused by superoxide, a toxic free radical generated in the mitochondria. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules produced by cells during normal metabolism again largely by the mitochondria. Free radicals can accumulate and cause damage to both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA and proteins within cells.

Studies also have focused on the role of glutamate in motor neuron degeneration. Glutamate is one of the chemical messengers or neurotransmitters in the brain. Scientists have found that, compared to healthy people, ALS patients have higher levels of glutamate in the serum and spinal fluid. Riluzole is currently the only FDA approved drug for ALS and targets glutamate transporters. It only has a modest effect on survival, however, suggesting that excess glutamate is not the sole cause of the disease.

Diagnosis

No test can provide a definite diagnosis of ALS, although the presence of upper and lower motor neuron signs in a single limb is strongly suggestive. Instead, the diagnosis of ALS is primarily based on the symptoms and signs the physician observes in the patient and a series of tests to rule out other diseases. Physicians obtain the patient's full medical history and usually conduct a neurologic examination at regular intervals to assess whether symptoms such as muscle weakness, atrophy of muscles, hyperreflexia, and spasticity are getting progressively worse.

 

Multiple intracerebroventricular injections of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells delay motor neurons loss but not disease progression of SOD1G93A mice. Stem Cell Res. 2017 Nov 10;25:166-178 Authors: Sironi F, Vallarola A, Violatto MB, Talamini L, Freschi M, De Gioia R, Capelli C, Agostini A, Moscatelli D, Tortarolo M, Bigini P, Introna M, Bendotti C Abstract Stem cell therapy is considered a promising approach in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) seem to be the most effective in ALS animal models. The umbilical cord (UC) is a source of highly proliferating fetal MSCs, more easily collectable than other MSCs. Recently we demonstrated that human (h) UC-MSCs, double labeled with fluorescent nanoparticles and Hoechst-33258 and transplanted intracerebroventricularly (ICV) into SOD1G93A transgenic mice, partially migrated into the spinal cord after a single injection. This prompted us to assess the effect of repeated ICV injections of hUC-MSCs on disease progression in SOD1G93A mice. Although no transplanted cells migrated to the spinal cord, a partial but significant protection of motor neurons (MNs) was found in the lumbar spinal cord of hUC-MSCs-treated SOD1G93A mice, accompanied by a shift from a pro-inflammatory (IL-6, IL-1β) to anti-inflammatory (IL-4, IL-10) and neuroprotective (IGF-1) environment in the lumbar spinal cord, probably linked to the activation of p-Akt survival pathway in both motor neurons and reactive astrocytes. However, this treatment neither prevented the muscle denervation nor delayed the disease progression of mice, emphasizing the growing evidence that protecting the motor neuron perikarya is not sufficient to delay the ALS progression. PMID: 29154076 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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