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News and articles about ALS treatment

Stem Cell Therapy for ALS Patients Moves Closer To Reality

19 July 2015

As a recently completed phase 1 clinical trial shows, stem cells can be safely applied in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

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ALS/MND

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:
  • weakness;
  • muscle spasms;
  • disorders of speech and swallowing;
  • problems with keeping balance;
  • spasticity;
  • increased deep reflexes, or reflexogenic zone expansion;
  • pathological reflexes;
  • fibrillations;
  • atrophy;
  • hanging foot;
  • respiratory disorders;
  • paroxysms of involuntary laughter or cry;
  • depression.

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. 

Transplantation of fetal stem cells does not combat the immediate cause of the disease (to date, the exact cause of disease has not been found); however, it exerts substantial influence on links of the pathological process and slows down disease progression. Transplantation of fetal stem cells improves the quality of life of ALS patients and their ability to work, and prolongs their life.

Appendix

Experience of ALS treatment at Cell Therapy Center EmCell
 
Fetal stem cells in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (poster presentation)
English, pdf, 930 kb
 

Testimonials

Patient F.T.G., 47. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cervical form, marked flaccid tetraparesis

Patient B.I., 44. ALS, with cervicothoracic involvement, marked tetraparesis, and bulbar palsy. S.p. disc surgery in 2002

Patient S.M., 68. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Bulbar palsy. Spastic tetraparesis

Patient M.A., 76. Motor neuron disease

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Fetal stem cells treatment results depend on: disease's severity, age of the patient, adherence for the medications and regime. Treatment results, presented on this site, are individual for each clinical case.

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