Stem cell transplantation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients: Methodological approach, safety, and feasibility
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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is characterized by the selective death of motor neurons. Stem cells have been proposed as a potential therapeutic strategy. The safety of stem cell transplantation into the frontal motor cortex to improve upper motor neuron function is described. Sixty-seven patients with definite amyotrophic lateral sclerosis were included. After giving their informed consent, the patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging, functional rating, pulmonary function test, and laboratory tests. Their bone marrow was stimulated with daily filgrastim (300 ¿g) given subcutaneously for 3 days. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were obtained by leukapheresis. Isolated CD133+ stem cells were suspended in 300 ¿l of the patient's cerebrospinal fluid and implanted into the motor cortex. Adverse events were recorded at each step of the procedure and were classified according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v3.0. The survival at 1 year was 90% after transplantation. with a mean long-term survival rate of 40.17 months from diagnosis. The most common adverse events were in grades I-II and involved transient skin pain (19.5% of patients) attributed to the insertion of the Mahurkar catheter into the subclavian vein, minor scalp pain (15.9%), and headache (12.2%) from the surgical procedure. Several patients (1.5 - 4.5%) reported diverse grade I adverse events. There were two deaths, one considered to be associated with the procedure (1.5%) and the other associated with the disease. Autologous stem cell transplantation into the frontal motor cortex is safe and tolerated well by patients. Further controlled studies are required to define the efficacy of this procedure. © 2012 Cognizant Comm. Corp.