Stem Cell Treatment for ALS is Available at ASCI
ALS - AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS
ALS Stem Cell Treatment Case Review
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input.
The condition is often called Lou Gehrig's disease in North America, after the New York Yankees baseball player who was diagnosed with the disease in 1939. The disorder is characterized by rapidly progressive weakness, muscle atrophy and fasciculations, spasticity, dysarthria, dysphagia, and respiratory compromise. Sensory function generally is spared, as is autonomic, and oculomotor activity. ALS is a progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disease
Signs and symptoms
The disorder causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body caused by degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons. Unable to function, the muscles weaken and atrophy. Affected individuals may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement, although bladder and bowel sphincters and the muscles responsible for eye movement are usually, but not always, spared.
Cognitive function is generally spared for most patients although some (~5%) also have frontotemporal dementia. A higher proportion of patients (~30-50%) also have more subtle cognitive changes which may go unnoticed but are revealed by detailed neuropsychological testing. Sensory nerves and the autonomic nervous system, which controls functions like sweating, are generally unaffected but may be involved for some patients.
The earliest symptoms of ALS are typically obvious weakness and/or muscle atrophy. Other presenting symptoms include muscle fasciculation (twitching), cramping, or stiffness of affected muscles; muscle weakness affecting an arm or a leg; and/or slurred and nasal speech. The parts of the body affected by early symptoms of ALS depend on which motor neurons in the body are damaged first. About 75% of people contracting the disease experience "limb onset" ALS.
The cause of ALS is not known, though an important step toward determining the cause came in 1993 when scientists discovered that mutations in the gene that produces the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) enzyme were associated with some cases (approximately 20%) of familial ALS. This enzyme is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from damage caused by superoxide, a toxic free radical generated in the mitochondria. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules produced by cells during normal metabolism again largely by the mitochondria. Free radicals can accumulate and cause damage to both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA and proteins within cells.
Studies also have focused on the role of glutamate in motor neuron degeneration. Glutamate is one of the chemical messengers or neurotransmitters in the brain. Scientists have found that, compared to healthy people, ALS patients have higher levels of glutamate in the serum and spinal fluid. Riluzole is currently the only FDA approved drug for ALS and targets glutamate transporters. It only has a modest effect on survival, however, suggesting that excess glutamate is not the sole cause of the disease.
No test can provide a definite diagnosis of ALS, although the presence of upper and lower motor neuron signs in a single limb is strongly suggestive. Instead, the diagnosis of ALS is primarily based on the symptoms and signs the physician observes in the patient and a series of tests to rule out other diseases. Physicians obtain the patient's full medical history and usually conduct a neurologic examination at regular intervals to assess whether symptoms such as muscle weakness, atrophy of muscles, hyperreflexia, and spasticity are getting progressively worse.
A robust, good manufacturing practice-compliant, clinical-scale procedure to generate regulatory T cells from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for adoptive cell therapy.
Related Articles A robust, good manufacturing practice-compliant, clinical-scale procedure to generate regulatory T cells from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for adoptive cell therapy. Cytotherapy. 2016 Oct;18(10):1312-24 Authors: Alsuliman A, Appel SH, Beers DR, Basar R, Shaim H, Kaur I, Zulovich J, Yvon E, Muftuoglu M, Imahashi N, Kondo K, Liu E, Shpall EJ, Rezvani K Abstract Regulatory T cells (Tregs) play a fundamental role in the maintenance of self-tolerance and immune homeostasis. Defects in Treg function and/or frequencies have been reported in multiple disease models. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder affecting upper and lower motor neurons. Compelling evidence supports a neuroprotective role for Tregs in this disease. Indeed, rapid progression in ALS patients is associated with decreased FoxP3 expression and Treg frequencies. Thus, we propose that strategies to restore Treg number and function may slow disease progression in ALS. In this study, we developed a robust, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-compliant procedure to enrich and expand Tregs from ALS patients. Tregs isolated from these patients were phenotypically similar to those from healthy individuals but were impaired in their ability to suppress T-cell effector function. In vitro expansion of Tregs for 4 weeks in the presence of GMP-grade anti-CD3/CD28 beads, interleukin (IL)-2 and rapamcyin resulted in a 25- to 200-fold increase in their number and restored their immunoregulatory activity. Collectively, our data facilitate and support the implementation of clinical trials of adoptive therapy with ex vivo expanded and highly suppressive Tregs in patients with ALS. PMID: 27497700 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]Read more...