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
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
Stem cell therapies – treatments that involve the transplantation of stem cells, organs, or other cells into patients to improve the function of diseased or damaged tissues or organs – is a field that has been steadily advancing. Perhaps more than any other industry, stem cell therapies is poised to make a significant near-term impact on worldwide public health, and many individuals living today may experience stem cell-related therapies.
The most obvious use of stem cells is in cell-replacement therapies, but they are also valuable in disease modeling, drug discovery, and drug toxicity assessment. Stem cell therapies are currently being