I’ve been writing The Niche now for more than 13 years and the idea of stem cells for ALS has been around that whole time. Unfortunately, it has been slow going on this front, but there are still reasons for hope. Probably now much more than ever before.
I’ll start with news on one path on the stem cells for ALS front. Note that you might find this recent piece I did on another, BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics and Neurown, to be interesting too.
Stem cells for ALS
Here’s the news that brought this topic back to mind. Regenerative Medicine: A New Path for ALS Treatment, Cedars Sinai.
This is about the clinical trial work of Richard Lewis and Clive Svendsen. The team has started a new trial. You can read more about the Svendsen lab.
From the story, “Last year, with an additional $12 million from CIRM, Cedars-Sinai investigators launched another first-ever, 16-patient safety trial, transplanting the GDNF-producing stem cells into the brain, in a region of the motor cortex that controls hand movement. The research team hopes the operation will leave patients with nothing worse than a scar under their hairline, and that they’ll see a positive effect on hand use, which the team will monitor in the ALS Clinic.”
At the same time as this real, concrete work is ongoing, we still have stem cell clinics selling unproven stem cells for ALS. It’s predatory in my view.
More recommended reads
- To split in two, stem cells harness the power of wrinkles, U of O. Here’s the research pub in Dev. Cell: Consumption of a polarized membrane reservoir drives asymmetric membrane expansion during the unequal divisions of neural stem cells .
- How thought itself can drive tumour growth, Nature. The fact that tumors have neural network integrations with the rest of the brain makes sense but is kind of disturbing.
- An International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy working group short report on the future of expanded access to unapproved cell and gene therapies, Cytotherapy. A helpful policy paper by a great group of researchers.
- Editors quit top neuroscience journal to protest against open-access charges, Nature.
Three reviews on clinical and translational work
- Developments in stem cell-derived islet replacement therapy for treating type 1 diabetes, Cell Stem Cell.
- Advancing cell therapy for neurodegenerative diseases, Cell Stem Cell. From the wonderful Sally Temple.
- Next steps in regenerative medicine, Cell Stem Cell. This one from Jun Takahashi is also on my to-read list.