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Stem Cell Therapy and ALS

There is a huge and widespread interest in the ALS community in stem cell therapy, both in how it is helping people with ALS today and how it may benefit ALS patients in the future. As with any new scientific procedure, stem cell therapy or surgery is controversial, both in terms of moral issues and in terms of effectiveness.

Stem cells have the ability to divide indefinitely and give rise to multiple specialized cells. For instance, they can develop into muscle, brain, blood, skin, and organ tissues. Embryonic stem cells are undifferentiated and have the ability to form any adult cell.

How Stem Cell Therapy Can Help The Renewal Process

When stem cells are injected intravenously, intramuscularly or subcutaneously, they travel to those parts of the body that have suffered from some type of injury. As they grow in their new environment, they become similar to those cells that they come in contact with. In this way they are able to transform into new blood vessels, neurons, muscle, pancreas, liver, bone marrow, and so on, any tissue or organ that they come into contact with.

Stem Cell Therapy Safety

In addition to the moral and ethical issues of using human embryonic stem cells, there are other problems with using stem cells that have been derived from human embryos. One problem is that certain cells may have developed ABO and HLA antigens on their surfaces, which means that they may induce Graft Versus Host reactions and cause health problems in the patient receiving them.

What this means is that the patient's body may reject the cells, just as it can do with an organ transplant. To avoid this, the patient is given cortisone products to suppress immunity, but this causes an additional problem for ALS patients since cortisone stimulates glutamate production, which is toxic to neural cells and can compromise the effectiveness of the treatment in neurological patients.

   

Stem Cell Therapy Treatments in China

Many people with ALS are looking for more information about the stem cell therapy that is being provided in China. Dr. Hongyun Huang, a Chinese neurosurgeon who has studied at Rutgers University, began testing certain cells from the olfactory center of the brain on ALS patients.

He extracts the cells from the olfactory bulbs of aborted fetuses and injects them into the patients' brains. He has treated more than 40 ALS patients, and many of these patients reported a rapid improvement of partial function. However, the long-term effects of the treatment is unknown - several patients have reported that any benefit they gained was temporary.

IMPORTANT LINK:

For a comprehensive list of articles relating to stem cell treatments in China, and to learn about individual ALS experiences click here.

The cost of the treatment is around $20,000, which includes transportation to and from the airport, transportation to the hotel and to the hospital, 3 meals a day, hospital tests, the surgery itself, and the stay for up to 5 weeks in the hospital for the ALS patient and a caregiver.

The waiting list for Americans wishing to partake of Dr. Huang's treatment in Beijing is currently around one year.

To contact Dr Huang by email, please click this link: hongyun@mailcity.com

IMPORTANT TIP:

Although Dr. Huang's treatment is considered experimental and is not endorsed by the greater scientific community, it seems to have helped some people regain partial function, although the long-term effects of the procedure are still unclear. The fact that some ALS patients have experienced improvements followed by a relapse suggests that the transplanted cells may be subject to the same sources of damage that caused the motor neuron cells to die in the first place.

It would seem that in order for the new cells to survive, they would need to be protected from the sources of toxins or the toxic environment that was causing the "original" cells to die. Otherwise, it is like putting good oil in a damaged engine - the orginal environment needs to be cleaned up for the new cells to survive.

This is where detoxification of the body becomes paramount - it is the first step in any healing process, so that the body can then focus on regeneration. Whether you choose to undertake stem cell therapy or any other therapy for cell regeneration, the body must first be "cleaned up", so as to maximize the success of the treatment.

Click here for more information on detoxification for people with neurological challenges.


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