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ALS Worldwide
January 20, 2015

The Science of Stem Cells

Peiman Hematti, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery and Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Clinical Hematopoietic Cell Process Laboratory of the University of Wisconsin Hospital has provided a concise and relevant explanation about the current status of stem cell treatment for ALS/MND. His goal is to learn how stem cells can survive longer after transplantation, and he focuses on bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Below is an excerpt from the full proposal for which funding is presently being obtained, Improving Outcome of Stem Cell Transplantation for ALS.  

"Over the last decade stem cell therapy has been proposed as a very promising therapeutic option for treatment of ALS. Indeed, a few studies have already been conducted using different types of stem cells; however, despite the fact that most of these studies have shown stem cell treatment to be generally safe, none have yet proven to be efficacious. Currently, the only form of stem cell treatment in approved practice is hematopoietic/bone marrow stem cell transplantation (BMT) for treatment of hematological malignancies. 

The success of this field could be attributed to more than half a century of systematic pre-clinical and clinical research. The author proposes that utilizing the knowledge and experience gained by the hematology community through decades of basic and clinical research in the field of BMT could accelerate and optimize the use of stem cell therapy for treatment of ALS. As a BMT physician with active research in basic, translational and clinical aspects of stem cell therapy my work focuses on solving some of the issues that need to be taken care of to make cell therapy trials for ALS successful."