Leaders within the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology industry recently used motor neurons from ALS patients to detect challenges and progress when patients receive stem cells.
The goal is to create stringent standards that will be adopted in independent laboratories, helping researchers make comparative results.
The review of the studies, called “Modeling ALS with motor neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells,” is available in Nature Neuroscience journal.
ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease, harms the nerve cells located in the spinal cord and brain. Over time, people who have ALS can no longer control or initiate their muscle movements, causing paralysis and death between two and five years after receiving a diagnosis.
Currently, there is no cure -- and also no explanation for the reason that veterans have twice the chance of developing ALS as a regular citizen.
“This review was generated as a result of a round table discussion hosted by the ALS Association bringing together leaders in the field to discuss and compare protocols,” ALS Association Chief Scientist Lucie Bruijn, coauthor of the review, said. “This resource will provide invaluable guidance to researchers using iPSCs in ALS research and therapy development. These cells have emerged as an important tool for modeling the disease -- motor neurons in culture that are derived from individual ALS patients. They have the potential to identify new disease mechanisms and individual susceptibilities to disease that cannot be revealed with other models. This may allow iPSCs to serve as exceptionally valuable tools to find new treatments based on a person’s unique genetic makeup.”