Don Cleveland, a longtime MDA research grantee studying amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Election to the IOM is one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine, and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to science.
Results from a completed phase 1 trial of neural stem cells in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) show that the stem cells and the surgical method used to transplant them were safe and well-tolerated. In addition, the experimental therapy appears to have "interrupted the progression of the disease" in some trial participants.
The most visible symptom in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is progressive weakness and loss of muscle control due to the loss of nerve cells called motor neurons. But approximately half of all people with ALS also exhibit some symptoms of cognitive impairment and associated behavioral symptoms (frontotemporal dementia, or FTD) at some stage of their disease.
Update (Nov. 6, 2012):This story was updated to reflect the availability of an abstract of the scientific paper (online and print) on which the story is based, as well as information about an upcoming webinar on this subject.
A "pro-inflammatory" chemical signature displayed by monocytes (a type of white blood cell) appears to signal the presence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) even before symptoms begin, a team of scientists has reported. If verified, the blood biomarker may make it possible for physicians to monitor disease progression using a simple blood test.