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Using bone marrow to protect the brain
Date:9/19/2011

nstrated that transplantation of these cells increased the survival rate in the mouse model of ALS and significantly delayed the progress of motor dysfunction.

According to Prof. Offen, this is a uniquely successful method for differentiating bone marrow stem cells into astrocyte-like cells without manipulating the genetic material of the cell itself. They are the first team of researchers to demonstrate the efficacy of this technology in vivo in various models of neurodegenerative diseases.

The technology was licensed to BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics that has developed it into a clinical grade product called NurOwn, which is now being used in a clinical trial at Jerusalem's Hadassah Medical Center. BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics has recently struck an agreement to expand clinical trials to Massachusetts General Hospital in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Home-grown therapy and talent

The ongoing clinical studies are aimed at evaluating the safety and the efficacy of this treatment, says Prof. Offen. Because the original cells are drawn from the patients themselves, he adds, the body should have no adverse reactions.

Although the current study targets ALS, these cells have the potential to treat a broad range of neurodegenerative conditions, including Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. For many conditions, explains Prof. Offen, the current available treatments only attempt to alleviate the symptoms of these diseases rather than repair existing damage.


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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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