Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Charkot’s disease, Charkot’s sclerosis, in English-speaking countries – Lou Gehrig’s disease), or motor neuron disease, is a progressing illness that manifests as gradual weakening and atrophy of muscles and lasts for two to five years (in very rare cases – for seven years) with 100% fatal outcome. The clinical picture is compliant with lesion of central and peripheral motor neurons that results in bulbar syndrome as well as muscular atrophy in extremities and respiratory muscles.
Major manifestations of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in patients include the following:
- muscle spasms;
- disorders of speech and swallowing;
- problems with keeping balance;
- increased deep reflexes, or reflexogenic zone expansion;
- pathological reflexes;
- hanging foot;
- respiratory disorders;
- paroxysms of involuntary laughter or cry;
Treatment of ALS with stem cells
Indications for ALS treatment with stem cells include confirmed ALS diagnosis, disease progression, and lack of response to existing treatment methods. Prior to year 2000, contraindications to treatment included respiratory failure, grade III, artificial lung ventilation, dysphagia, and presence of gastric stoma. However, nowadays Cell Therapy Center EmCell has experience of treating patients with the above-mentioned complications and disorders that allows for prolonging their life by more than five years.
After transplantation of fetal stem cells, 67% of ALS patients note diminishing weakness, improvement of appetite and mood, decrease in intensity of fasciculations and spasticity. Within two months after transplantation, increase of motion volume in extremities, decrease in muscular rigidity, normalization of reflexes, decrease in the number of fasciculation zones, better tolerability of daily chores, reduction in intensity of dysphagia and dysarthria (improvement of swallowing, articulation, and clarity in pronunciation of words) have been observed in 34% of patients. Stable positive clinical effect after treatment persists for three to six months.
About 48% of patients need to repeat the course of treatment during the year for retaining the attained positive results. In 25% of cases, patients need periodic transplantations of stem cells every 1.5–2 years. Duration of the ALS treatment course at Cell Therapy Center EmCell, as a rule, totals 2 days.