Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Adult Stem Cells to treat ALS
exacom ^ | 05.27.08

Posted on 06/29/2008 7:40:45 PM PDT by Coleus

Adult Stem Cells to treat ALS: UBC Study Vancouver researchers pioneer safe pathway to slow ALS using stem cells

A unique pilot study has established a safe pathway for using bone-marrow stem cells to slow down and potentially treat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disease without cure. The study, published in the journal, Muscle & Nerve and led by Dr. Neil Cashman, professor of neurology at The University of British Columbia and director of the ALS program at Vancouver Coastal Health and VCH Research Institute, tested the use of a growth factor stimulant in ALS patients and found that bone-marrow stem cells became activated with no adverse effects to patients.

“Our idea was to use a growth factor stimulant to increase the number of circulating stem cells from within the body’s bone marrow where they would have the potential to travel to the site of injury and begin repair, slowing down the progression of ALS,” says Cashman, who also holds the Canada Research Chair in Neurodegeneration and Protein Misfolding Diseases at UBC and is a member of the Brain Research Centre at UBC Hospital. “This pathway, if one day successful, may provide a new therapy that will avoid the ethical debate surrounding embryonic stem cells,” says Cashman.

Growth factors are proteins that can stimulate cell division. They occur naturally in the human body and can also be developed in a laboratory. Stem cells serve as a “repair system” in the human body and have the potential to develop and divide into many different cell types. “The project was complex because growth factors have the potential to activate the wrong cells in the brain and spinal cord, which could be harmful to ALS patients” says Cashman.

The researchers identified Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor (G-CSF) as the safest possible growth factor to use. They then conducted the pilot trial to establish safety and measure stem cell mobilization. “We were able to measure a prominent effect on stem cell mobilization and found no adverse effects in the patients,” said Cashman. “There have been many misgivings in using stem cell stimulators in ALS patients but now we know we can safely do this. This is an important first step in providing a new treatment for ALS.”

The research team is now developing a larger scale multicentre trial to look at therapeutic effect. This trial is at least one year away from beginning. ALS is a progressive and ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disease that produces weakness, atrophy – partial or complete wasting away of a part of the body, and spasticity – continuous contracting of certain muscles. It results from progressive degeneration of motor neurons in the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord. There is no cure for ALS and to date the only registered pharmacological treatment is riluzole, which slows the progression of the disease on average by 10-15 per cent. New effective therapies are greatly needed to slow or halt this disease.

The Webster Foundation in Montreal through the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation in Vancouver, as well as the Temerty Family Foundation in Toronto provided funding for this study. The co-authors include Dr. Andy Eisen (senior author), professor Emeritus, Neurology, University of British Columbia and former director Vancouver Coastal Health ALS program; and Dr. Charles Krieger, associate professor of kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, professor, neurology, clinical associate professor, Neurology, University of British Columbia, and clinician researcher VCH ALS program.

VCHRI is the research body of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. In academic partnership with UBC, the institute advances health research and innovation across B.C., Canada, and beyond.

The Faculty of Medicine at UBC provides innovative programs in the health and life sciences, teaching students at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels, and generates more than $200 million in research funding each year.

The Brain Research Centre at UBC Hospital is a multidisciplinary centre dedicated to improving understanding and finding new treatments for brain diseases. The centre is a partnership of the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.

Contact Catherine Loiacono UBC Public Affairs Tel: 604.822.2644 Cell: 604.209.3048 E-mail:

Lisa Carver VCHRI Communications Tel: 604.875.4111, loc. 61777 Cell: 604.319.7533 E-mail:

TOPICS: Health/Medicine; Science
KEYWORDS: adultstemcells; als; bonemarrow; lougehrigsdisease

1 posted on 06/29/2008 7:40:45 PM PDT by Coleus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Coleus

Lou Gehrig’s Disease. I knew of three people in my town who suffered from it around 15 years ago. An odd cluster for such a rare and terrible disease.

2 posted on 06/29/2008 8:30:12 PM PDT by Pelham (Press 1 for English)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pelham; Coleus

“Lou Gehrig died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. How the hell did he not see THAT coming!” -— Dennis Leary

3 posted on 06/29/2008 8:31:32 PM PDT by Clemenza (Friggin in the Riggin...Friggin in the Riggin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Pelham

The Curious Cluster of ALS is likely explained by the emerging knowledge that ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease is nothing more than Chronic Neuro Lyme. Greed has delayed the proper treatment of this disease by 2 decades!

4 posted on 06/29/2008 9:05:19 PM PDT by armourup (Your Doctor is 100% wrong about Lyme Disease.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Coleus

“There is no cure for ALS and to date the only registered pharmacological treatment is riluzole, which slows the progression of the disease on average by 10-15 per cent.”

This sentence says it all.
Riluzole is an expensive drug that gives big Pharma NO incentive to CURE or definitely treat ALS. (As well as many many other Auto-immune conditions.) MANY doctors and researchers now believe that perhaps MOST ALS cases are simply CHRONIC LYME DISEASE!

The little known FACT is that is that a number of ALS case have improved... some MARKEDLY improved... and a few have even went into remission by simply treating with long term antibiotic therapy.

There is a lot of correlation between Borreliosis (Lyme) and many of the Autoimmune conditions, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Schlerosis, Alzheimer’s, Autism, Parkinsons,
.... and hold on to your hats... even some Primary Psychiatric Disorders!

Does this mean Michael Savage is right?

5 posted on 06/29/2008 9:22:36 PM PDT by armourup (Your Doctor is 100% wrong about Lyme Disease.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: armourup

Stephen Hawking has lived well beyond the expectations of a man with ALS. I wonder, have his physicians tried treating his condition as Lyme Disease?

6 posted on 06/29/2008 9:30:25 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: armourup

do you have a list of diagnosed ALS patients having been treated with antibiotics that were cured or at least stablizied?......this is important stuff and I would like to see some hard factual numbers before going ga-ga.....I have a relative with this disease...thx

7 posted on 06/29/2008 9:51:54 PM PDT by cherry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: armourup

and what antibiotics are you talking about?.....

8 posted on 06/29/2008 9:52:38 PM PDT by cherry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]


I think one could live forever if they were on a vent and had unlimited resources to take care of every need and meds to fight every pneumonia or urinary tract infection that comes along.....

9 posted on 06/29/2008 9:54:04 PM PDT by cherry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: cherry

Rocephin iv start with LOW dose and work your way up...very very slowly.

Look up

My wife was NOT diagnosed with ALS but she had a 5% function with another autoimmune disorder.. is now around 40%. She continues to improve.

I know in just 3 or so years of working with many ALS patients Dr. Martz was seeing patients from Europe who sought him out because of his successes ie WORD OF MOUTH..... not because of advertising. He saw many VERY debilitated patients on vents and in chairs... many of those were not helped; but MANY others were. And I am not talking about slowing the disease.. Do you know ANYONE else who has patients who improve? The Stem Cell treatments are great... but if the patient has an infectious cause, would it not seem good to TREAT the cause?

I work in health care; and I’ll tell you up front that most of the doctors I work with (I am not a doctor) think Chronic Lyme adherents are nuts. That will change soon.

Why do I think the Mainstream doctors will come around?
Google: CT AG antitrust suit May 2008.
Google: UNDER OUR SKIN.... Then find a Lyme group that is showing the film.

It is the SCIENCE that will finally put this Health Care atrocity in it’s grave.

My wife is the love of my life and I am very thankful she found help... I was preparing for the worst.

I pray your loved one finds help like mine did.

10 posted on 06/30/2008 1:51:18 AM PDT by armourup (Your Doctor is 100% wrong about Lyme Disease.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson