Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Stem Cell Model Creates 'ALS in a Dish'

A human cellular model of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) has been created using cells taken from people with a subtype of the disease called ALS8.

This so-called “disease in a dish” research model already is enabling researchers to learn more about the role of a protein called VAPB in the ALS disease process.

Safety Stem Cell Trial in ALS Set to Advance

Maryland biotherapeutics company Neuralstem has announced favorable results from the first part of a phase 1 trial to test the safety of its experimental spinal cord stem cell treatment in ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease).

Research Briefs: Stem Cells

Stem cells are a hot topic these days in medicine, science and law, although the term has multiple meanings and it's easy to get confused.

In short, stem cells are cells at an early stage of development from which specialized cells, such as muscle or nerve cells, can develop (in other words, from which these specialized cells "stem").

Different kinds of stem cells are referred to as:

Researchers Exploring Disability Perceptions

Researchers at the Psychology of Disability Lab at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor are exploring the social identity of people with disabilities through a short, anonymous, Web-based questionnaire.

The lab's Disability Identity Project is being headed by principal investigator Adena Rottenstein, a doctoral candidate in psychology.

The study closes the week of Aug. 22, 2011.

May 25 Webinar Focuses on Newly Diagnosed

Every day in the United States, about 13 people receive a diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

That’s 5,000 Americans a year who are new to this disease. MDA's ALS Division wants to reach out to these people and their families, encourage and support them, and most importantly, let them know they’re not alone.

ALS Research Briefs

NurOwn stem cell therapy trial set to begin

Biotechnology company Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics announced May 17, 2011, that it has received approval from Israel's Ministry of Health to conduct a phase 1-2 clinical trial of stem cell therapy in adults with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease).

FUS and ALS: What's the Connection?

 The gene for FUS  was associated in 2009 with some forms of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Now, overlapping findings from four recent studies have revealed tantalizing clues about the molecular underpinnings of FUS-related forms of the disease.

Research

Intense research is being conducted in many areas related to ALS, from basic science seeking the roots of the disease, to therapy development to find effective treatments.

Research into familial (running in families) forms of the disease also may have relevance for sporadic (nonfamilial) forms, as all ALS cases — regardless of the form — present and develop along similar lines.

Causes/Inheritance

About 5 to 10 percent of ALS is familial — meaning it arises in families in which there is a history of ALS. Several genes associated with ALS have been identified or at least mapped to a specific region of a chromosome.

The other 90 to 95 percent of ALS is sporadic, meaning it occurs without a family history (in other words, "sporadically"). There appear to be genetic variations that influence one's susceptibility to sporadic ALS, even if they don't actually cause the disease by themselves.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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