20 Aug Lou Gehrig’s Disease May Be Cured With Stem Cell Therapy
Lou Gehrig’s disease is a fatal condition that destroys the nervous system over time. Symptoms may not appear for a long time, but when they do there is no cure. Stem cells are being studied as a treatment for this terrible disease. They may be able to stop the progression of the damage to a patient’s nervous system, allowing them to live longer than expected, and maybe even beat the disease.
What is Lou Gehrig’s Disease?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a progressive nervous system disease that destroys nerve cells and causes severe disability. ALS is often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the famous baseball player who was diagnosed with it. ALS is a type of motor neuron disease where nerve cells gradually break down and die. There is no known reason for why someone develops ALS, but it may be genetic. ALS often begins with muscle twitching and weakness in a limb or slurred speech. Eventually, ALS destroys the body’s control over the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. There is no known cure for ALS, and eventually, the disease leads to death. ALS often starts in the hands, feet or limbs, and then spreads to other parts of your body. As the disease advances and nerve cells are destroyed, your muscles weaken and you are unable to use them anymore. ALS doesn’t always affect your bowel/bladder control, your senses and thinking ability. So it is possible to remain actively involved with your family and friends and continue to have a life.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can become any type of new cell or tissue.
They have played a large role in recent regenerative medicine practices because of their ability to restore full or partial function to damaged tissue by stimulating natural healing properties we have in our body. Stem cell therapy has been proven to repair degenerated, damaged, and injured tissues and cells. Recently, various types of stem cells have been studied for their use as a treatment in regenerative medicine like adipose-derived stem cells, bone marrow-derived stem cells, and stem cells from fetal tissue. The least controversial method is harvesting stem cells is from fat tissue because the procedure is nearly pain-free. Adipose-derived stem cells are taken from a patient’s fat tissue in a minimally invasive procedure, unlike harvesting stem cells from bone marrow tissue. The stem cells taken from fat tissue are easily obtained, as they are abundant in fat deposits that everyone has. Adipose-derived stem cells are blank slates that can become whatever you tell them to become, even in areas that have been damaged. Fat derived stem cells have been said to be superior to bone marrow-derived stem cells because the procedure is much less invasive and painful and the amount never decreases as you age.
How Can Stem Cell Therapy Help Patients With Lou Gehrig’s Disease?
Clinical trials are now in their second phase to determine if stem cells are a safe treatment for patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The data is looking promising, and the FDA may release it as a safe treatment soon. Stem cells are able to stop the progression of Lou Gehrig’s disease by healing the muscle, nervous tissue, and spinal cord that begins to slowly degenerate. This is a promising treatment for an incurable disease that leads to death in all patients.