Stem Cells Hope to Halt the Progression of ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) impacts 5,000 additional people each year. The neurodegenerative disease doesn’t have a cure – yet – and results in the permanent degeneration of cells responsible for motor function.

People between the ages of 40 and 70 are the group with the largest percentage of ALS.

Stem cells may help the condition, but the ALS disease progression timeline is unknown. Your case may be completely different from someone else’s case. Doctors like to say that there is no real timeline to follow.

However, there are stages of the disease that are clearly defined and can help you better understand how the disease is progressing.

Stages of ALS Progression

Your ALS disease progression timeline is unknown, but you can monitor the major stages to learn where you are:

  1. Early: The early stage results in the weakness of the limbs and will often begin to make it challenging to swallow or speak. Cramps or twitches may also begin, often in one region of the body. Balance and difficulty walking may occur due to limb weakness.
  2. Diagnosis: A stage where you go to the doctor because there’s an evident issue that’s not getting better. The diagnosis may require multiple exams, analysis and groundwork because no single test is accurate enough.
  3. Middle-stage: Symptoms continue to worsen and some muscles may experience paralysis. Walking becomes increasingly difficult.
  4. Middle-stage 2nd: The second region of the body starts to become increasingly weak and major issues with breathing may occur. Psychological and emotional trauma will begin to set in.
  5. Middle-stage 3rd: Core and trunk muscles weaken. Mobility will become increasingly difficult. Coordination becomes challenging and you’ll begin to lose stability.
  6. Gastrostomy stage: ALS will begin to worsen to the point that you need a feeding tube for nourishment.
  7. Late-stage: The late-stage ALS stage involves most muscles becoming paralyzed. Impaired thinking, fatigue, headaches and breathing will occur.
  8. Final stage: The final stage of the disease results in death, and the person will likely need to be in hospice care. You’ll notice the person’s speech is no longer coherent and they no longer want to be reliant on machines to maintain their lifestyle.

Impact of ALS on the Nervous System

Unfortunately, the progression of ALS symptoms will only worsen. The nervous system will begin to weaken from the first stage onward. Ultimately, most of the body’s function will no longer be voluntary.

Role of Stem Cells in Preventing ALS Disease Progression

Stem cell therapy can help neurodegeneration slow and decrease. The cells can help regenerate neurons and defend healthy ones that remain. The progression still occurs, but slowing the disorder offers a higher quality of life for longer.

Studies show significant promise in the field, with stories of:

  • One man who was unable to walk because of ALS. In just 2 – 3 months following treatment, his strength is returning. He is not healed, but doctors are confident that he’ll regain enough strength to support his own body weight without needing assistance.
  • One woman who has had multiple stem cell treatments has restored some of her ability to swallow and communicate better.

In its current state, stem cell therapy is unable to cure ALS, but it can slow the progression. For some patients, and when treated during the early stages, it may be even possible to regain strength and function to some extent.

Stem cells are not a cure, but they offer a promising form of treatment that works more effectively than other therapeutic approaches that exist.

The Crucial Role of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in ALS

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) may help slow or halt ALS disease progression, thanks to their ability to:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Support motoneurons and nearby cells
  • Release growth factors 
  • Stimulate tissue regeneration

Patients may experience improved muscle strength and function as a result. With the right treatment protocol, MSCs can help patients experience a better quality of life.

In fact, research in mice showed that umbilical-derived stem cells transplanted into the spinal cords of ALS mice improved survival rates and motor function.

Exploring the Promise of Stem Cells in ALS

Stem cell therapy is a very promising area of research for ALS. Research has found that stem cells can migrate to the injury site, differentiate into missing cells and then release trophic factors that help protect the remaining cells.

Stem cells can transform into neurons and even turn into the muscle cells they touch. 

Muscle weakness and stiffness are characteristic symptoms of this neurodegenerative disease. Stem cells have the potential to slow down and potentially regress ALS. 

Several of our clinic’s patients have seen promising results with stem cell therapy for their ALS. Contact Swiss Medica today to schedule a consultation.

ALS

Final Thoughts

With the help of ALS stem cells, ALS disease progression can be slowed or potentially reversed. As research continues, advancements in stem cell therapy may lead to enhanced outcomes for patients.

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