ALS, also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a fatal disease that attacks a particular type of nerve cell (motor neurons) in the brain and spinal column. ALS causes the motor neurons to slowly degrade and waste away, impairing their ability to transmit the important signals that control movement, eating, speaking, and eventually, breathing. There is no cure for ALS, and researchers agree that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the onset of the disease.
Currently there are no Health Canada or FDA approved stem cell treatments available for ALS. There is still much that is not known about the causes of ALS and a clinical stem cell treatment may well be years or decades away. However, researchers are using various types of stem cells to learn more about ALS and to see if the regenerative capacity of stem cells can repair or replace the damaged motor neurons, in the hopes of discovering a possible treatment.