Korean clinical trial shows stem cell therapy safe for ALS patients

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, currently has no cure. Its degenerative neurological processes eventually lead to complete loss of muscle control due to the death of motor neurons in the brain and the spinal cord. 

Among those who are searching for a cure for this disease are researchers at Hanyang University and Corestem, Inc., in Seoul, South Korea. Since ALS is a degenerative disease, it has the potential to eventually be treated with regenerative stem cell therapies. In a recent Phase I clinical trial, the researchers tested whether stem cell injections were safe for ALS patients and whether two injections would be more powerful than one.

The trial included seven patients with "definite or probable" ALS, who were given injections of mesenchymal stem cells taken from their own bone marrow. Mesenchymal stem cells are responsible for creating bone, cartilage and fat cells, and have good potential to treat ALS because they can regenerate damaged cells.

The seven patients were followed for a year after the injections, and none of them experienced adverse symptoms as a result of the treatment. They also didn't show any progression in their ALS symptoms, indicating that the therapy was effective at slowing the spread of the disease.

"This study shows that stem cells as a therapeutic approach for ALS are feasible and well-tolerated at least for 12 months, supporting the need for a late-stage clinical trial to examine their in-depth safety, biological effects and efficacy. Randomized, semi-double blind controlled phase 2 clinical data on 72 ALS patients, which recently was submitted to the Korean FDA, will be released in the near future," said trial co-leader Seung Hyun Kim, Ph.D., of Hanyang University.

To find out about stem cell treatment options, contact the Longevity Centres of America.