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Brainstorm Coming

Some more very good news for PALS in the USA: Brainstorm is bringing it’s stem cell clinical trial to the US! This technology, named NurOwn, uses a patient’s own mesenchymal stem cells to produce little factories for neurotrophic factors (proteins that nourish and strengthen neurons). This would provide a constant and lifetime production of support for the neighboring neurons, a much more effective approach than drugs which are only present for a short time or may be reduced or blocked by the Blood-Brain-Barrier.

Note that this is not a replacement therapy, but rather one to help feed and protect existing neurons.

You can read about the trial protocol here. For recently diagnosed patients they will inject into muscles to try to take advantage of axonal uptake in the hope that this will preserve the axon and its attachment to the muscle (neuromuscular junction). Patients in later stages of disease will have an injection into the spine to treat the neurons’ cell bodies directly.

2 thoughts on “Brainstorm Coming”

  1. Hi, so this is for halting progress? Not for trying to rebuild lost functions? I always thought that the main purpose of stem cells were to reestablish and rebuild functions?

  2. In this case no. The cells in this case are engineered to produce proteins to nurture neighboring neurons. Replacement techniques are still in research phase. Even the Neuralstem human trial is more about adding non-activated astrocytes than it is about replacing neurons.

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