ALS refers to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This condition is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that alters the neurons in the brain and spinal cord. The associated nerve cells, called motor neurons, control voluntary muscle movements such as walking, talking, and breathing. As the disease progresses, the motor neurons gradually deteriorate and die, leading to muscle stiffness, weakness, and, eventually, paralysis.
The early symptoms of ALS can be subtle, such as muscle twitching or weakness in the arms or legs. As ALS advances, the symptoms become more severe, and individuals may experience difficulty speaking, swallowing, and breathing. There is currently no cure for ALS, and the average life expectancy after diagnosis is between two and five years.
While the cause of ALS is not fully understood, research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role in the disease’s development. Several treatments are available to help manage the symptoms of ALS and improve the quality of life for individuals living with the disease.
ALS is a devastating disease that profoundly affects individuals and their families. More research is needed to better understand the causes of ALS and to develop more effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure.
Stem Cell Treatment for ALS
Stem cell therapy is emerging as a promising ALS treatment. Stem cells have the unique ability to develop into different types of cells in the body. They can be taken from various sources, including bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, and even the patient’s skin cells. Stem cells can replace damaged or diseased cells in the body, making them a potential treatment option for a wide range of diseases, including ALS.
Stem cells could help treat ALS by reducing inflammation and regulating the immune system. They may replace immune cells to prevent an immune attack on the motor neurons or help preserve astrocytes, a type of supportive nerve cell.
Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy is one type of ALS stem cell treatment being studied. MSCs are adult stem cells found in bone marrow, adipose tissue, and other tissues in the body. They can differentiate into various types of cells, including muscle cells and neurons. MSCs may reduce inflammation in the body by secreting a protein called TSG-6, which has anti-inflammatory effects.
Other studies suggest that stem cell therapy for ALS can reduce inflammation by modulating the immune response and promoting tissue regeneration.
Another type of stem cell treatment for ALS is neural stem cell therapy. Neural stem cells are specialized cells that can develop into various types of cells in the nervous system, including neurons and glial cells.
While stem cell therapy for ALS is still in the early development stages, it holds great promise as a potential treatment option. As research continues, the hope is that stem cell therapy will help improve the lives of those living with ALS.
Can Stem Cells Cure ALS?
Because stem cell therapy for ALS is still in its infancy, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness. However, while current ALS treatments focus on managing the symptoms, stem cell therapy has shown promise as a potential cure for ALS.
Research has shown that MSC therapy can help slow the progression of ALS and improve patients’ quality of life. MSCs have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect and repair the motor neurons affected by the disease. One study found that patients who received mesenchymal stem cell therapy showed a significant improvement in muscle strength and respiratory function.
Another study found that neural stem cell therapy can help protect and regenerate motor neurons in animal models of ALS.
While these findings are encouraging, it’s important to note that stem cell therapy is not a cure for ALS, and the success rate may vary from patient to patient. Additionally, stem cell therapy is still an experimental treatment, and more ALS research breakthroughs are needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks.
One of the major challenges is ensuring the safety and efficacy of stem cell treatment. Doctors and scientists are still working to determine the optimal dose, route of administration, and timing of stem cell therapy. With more knowledge and experience in the field of stem cell therapy, it’s hoped that the treatment will become more accessible to patients as a cure for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Cord Blood for ALS Treatment
While stem cell therapy for ALS is still new and developing, harnessing stem cells for potential future use is an excellent way for families to be proactive about their health.
Thanks to advancing medical technology, expectant parents can harvest and store their baby’s umbilical cord blood. Saving cord blood is a form of biological insurance — it can be used if the child or another family member develops a disease or condition that stem cells can help treat, such as ALS, leukemia, blood disorders, and immune system disorders.
Collecting cord blood is a noninvasive, painless procedure that can be done during childbirth. Medical staff collect the cord blood after the baby is born and the umbilical cord is cut, so budding families can rest assured there’s no risk to the mother or baby.
Cord blood banking is the process of collecting and storing cord blood. Americord® is the industry leader in stem cell storage, offering umbilical cord blood, cord tissue, and placental tissue stem cell storage services for families who want to take steps toward protecting their health and longevity in the years to come.
While cord blood banking is a relatively new technology, doctors have already used it to treat a wide range of diseases, such as leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, and some types of anemia. Researchers continue to study cord blood stem cells as a potential treatment for other conditions.
Trust Americord® for Cord Blood Banking
As the link between stem cells and ALS continues to grow, now is the perfect time to consider cord blood banking. By storing stem cell-rich umbilical cord blood collected at birth, parents can help support the health of their children and other family members against various diseases and conditions.
Americord® is your trusted partner in umbilical cord blood, cord tissue, and placental tissue banking. As a private bank, we collect, store, and process stem cells for future therapeutic or medical use by the family who saves them. We offer unmatched customer service, transparency, and expertise because that’s what our clients deserve. Learn more about stem cell storage and how it can help you invest in your family’s future health.