A team of Japanese scientists has discovered a method that extends the life of mice with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease for which there is no effective cure, media reported Friday.
The scientists managed to successfully transplant progenitor cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cell (IPS) of humans to the spinal medulla of mice, which may mean that the treatment is effective in people, Kyodo news agency reported.
The method helped extend the life of the rodents with symptoms of the illness by 10 days, which is equivalent to six months of life in humans, according to the scientists, who published their finding in the American scientific newspaper Stem Cell Reports.
The doctors transplanted around 80,000 cells of this type in 24 mice suffering from ALS, which helped the rodents to live 162 days in comparison with 150 days of the mice who did not receive transplants.
However, the team of doctors from Tokyo University pointed out the difficulty of applying the same method to people.
Currently there is no effective treatment of ALS, also known as motor neuron disease (MND) in pathology and Charcot disease.
Symptoms of ALS are muscle weakness and atrophy of the entire body caused due to degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons.
Cell transplant is considered as a promising method for ALS, although the difficulties of having a steady supply of cells and the possibilities of rejection by the recipient organism are delaying the progress on this field, according to the Japanese scientists.
The usage of induced pulripotent cells could solve these problems, the team of scientists, led by professor Haruhisa Inoue, added in their article.