Monday, October 20, 2008

Progress in ALS Research

Lou Gherig's disease is a horrible illness. The best science fiction writer couldn't come up with something as bad as losing your ability to move everything except maybe your eyeballs, while you stay locked-up, fully conscious in your prison of a body. Offering any kind of treatment for this debilitating disease would be a big breakthrough in medical science that would help people who really suffer-so this story caught my attention.

Swamping Bad Cells With Good In ALS Animal Models Helps Sustain Breathing

ScienceDaily (Oct. 20, 2008) — In a disease like ALS - one that's always fatal and that has a long history of research-resistant biology - finding a proof of principle in animal models is significant.

This week, Johns Hopkins researchers report that transplanting a new line of stem cell-like cells into rat models of the disease clearly shifts key signs of neurodegenerative disease in general and ALS in particular - slowing the animals' neuron loss and extending life.

The new work supports the hypothesis that artificially outnumbering unhealthy cells with healthy ones in targeted parts of the spinal cord preserves limb strength and breathing and can increase survival.

Read the rest on Science Daily

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