Treating a heart attack with the patients’ own bone marrow stem cells boosts blood flow within the heart and may help reduce long-term complications, a new U.S. study finds.
The study included 31 patients who underwent angioplasty and stent placement after a heart attack. Within one week of the attacks, 16 of the patients received infusions of their own bone marrow cells into the coronary artery in which a blockage had caused the event.
The 16 patients received different amounts of bone marrow stem cells — 5 million, 10 million and 15 million cells. The 15 patients in the control group received standard medication only. All the patients were followed for up to five years.
After three to six months, patients who received higher doses of bone marrow stem cells showed greater improvement in blood flow within the heart than patients who received lower doses and those in the control group, the researchers said.
Emory University researchers have received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to advance to the next phase of a landmark trial to treat patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) using human neural stem cells.
The Phase I trial, currently underway exclusively at Emory University, is designed to assess the safety of implanting neural stem cells into the spinal cord in up to 18 people with ALS and began in January 2010. The first 12 patients received neural stem cell transplants in the lumbar, or lower, region of the spinal cord. After reviewing safety data from these patients, the FDA has granted approval for the trial to advance to the final two groups of patients (three in each group), all of who will be transplanted in the cervical, or upper, region of the spinal cord.
“This represents a major accomplishment for the trial, meaning that we have achieved our stated goal of proving safety in the first 12 patients who received lumbar spinal injections,” says Jonathan Glass, MD, Professor of Neurology, Emory School of Medicine and director of the Emory ALS Center.
“Our next objective is to demonstrate that we can deliver the cells safely to the cervical spinal cord, which is particularly important because therapy in this region may help patients better maintain their ability to breathe.”
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A revolutionary stem cell procedure may be able to stop ALS, or Lou Gehrig‘s disease, in its tracks.
HealthFirst reporter Leslie Toldo shares the story of one of the few people who have had it done.
ALS is a deadly disease, with a quick and devastating decline. This could be the hope thousands of people have been waiting for.
Fifty-five-year-old Tom Elliott is not a quitter. He has ALS and fights to keep up with the daily routines of his life, even as the disease makes everything harder. “Brushing the teeth has become a real chore. Turning and rolling in bed to get comfortable has become an impossibility. This disease is about having to give up and sacrifice a lot.”
As ALS progresses, it destroys the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle movement until people “cease to be able to move, they become essentially locked in their bodies,” Dr. Nicholas Boulis said.
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Emory University researchers are participating in a groundbreaking clinical trial to treat patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) using human neural stem cells.
The Phase 1 trial, will assess the safety of stem cells, and the surgical procedures and devices required, for multiple injections of the cells directly into the spinal cord.
“This is the first U.S. clinical trial of stem cell injections into the spinal cord for the treatment of ALS,” says principal researcher Jonathan Glass, professor of neurology in the School of Medicin, and director of the Emory ALS Center. “Our main goal in this early phase is to determine whether it is safe to inject stem cells into the spinal cord and whether the cells themselves are safe.”
Three patients with ALS have received injections since the trial began in January. Up to twelve individuals will be enrolled at in this phase of the trial.
Nicholas Boulis, assistant professor of neurosurgery I the School of Medicine and a pioneer in developing surgical methods for delivery of therapeutics to the spinal cord, is performing the surgical procedures.
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39-year-old Ted Harada was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig‘s disease. It’s one of the worst diagnoses anyone could get.
He and his doctors expected his health to have severely declined by now. But thanks to an experimental stem cell treatment, he has tossed his cane and is once again playing in the pool with his three kids (…)
Then his neurologist told him about an experiment at Emory University that was recruiting ALS patients to test a stem cell treatment.
The surgeons told Harada that injecting the stem cells into his spine likely would not help him personally, and might even cause harm. But the study would hopefully help scientists find an effective treatment in the future. Harada had nothing to lose and expected nothing – he became study subject number 11 and underwent surgery on March 9 (…)
The Emory surgeons injected 1 million neural stem cells into 10 locations in Harada’s spine (earlier patients received fewer cells; the dosage was gradually increased as the trial progressed). All of the cells came from a single voluntarily aborted and donated two-month-old fetus. Using technology developed by Neuralstem, scientists multiplied the cells and created enough of them to treat all of the patients in this trial and beyond.
“We took one small part of the spinal cord and isolated one million stem cells which are now going to, we hope, treat millions of people around the world,” Dr. Karl Johe, chief scientific officer at Neuralstem told me.
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