Stem cells key to ALS therapy – Agoura Hills Acorn

By The Acorn Staff | on November 05, 2020

Twenty years ago, when stem cell therapy was highly regulated in the United States and other countries, it was well underway in the Hadassah Hospital labs in Jerusalem.

Never would we have imagined that the U.S. expansion of one of the key clinical trials conducted in our labs in Israel would be later funded by Californias Stem Cell Institute.

In 2004, California had the foresight to advance this critical area of research with the passage of Prop. 71 in 2004.

Stem cells replace damaged or diseased tissue. In this way, treatments or cures for diseases like age-related macular degeneration, ALS, MS, Parkinsons, Alzheimers and diabetes could be a reality in the foreseeable future.

I come to this subject from a place of personal sorrow. I watched my father-in-law, Irv, suffer for 12 years with ALS, a man I loved as if he were my own father. He fought hard. He made every minute of his battle meaningful, to soak up as much life as he could until he couldnt.

Hadassah researchers conducted the worlds first clinical trial using the patients own bone marrow stem cells to treat ALS. Expanded stem cell trials are now taking place here in California to treat ALS.

The California Stem Cell Agencys ALS funding has awarded a total of $79 million in grants to understand ALS and then to translate those discoveries into treatments and therapies. Two have already reached the clinical trial phase.

A Phase 1 clinical trial at Cedars-Sinai was funded to investigate the safety and efficacy of ways in which surviving neurons can be protected in people with ALS.

The second, a Phase 3 clinical trial at Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics, first began in Israel. The approach is to use mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow boosted with protective factors to support and protect the neurons of ALS patients.

Stacey Dorenfeld Agoura Hills

Dorenfeld is the National State Advocacy co-chair and the Hadassah Southern California advocacy chair.

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Stem cells key to ALS therapy - Agoura Hills Acorn

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