Promising new research for ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease: U.S. and German scientists have recently created motor-neurons from human umbilical cord stem cells. Motor neurons are responsible for transmitting signals from the brain to muscles to control movement in the body; these cells become impaired in ALS.
Stem cells have been at the forefront of ALS stem cell research due to their ability to change into any cell in the body, including motor neurons. Earlier approaches have focused on the use of highly controversial ‘embryonic’ stem cells, which are obtained from the destruction of human embryos. The use of specially treated umbilical cord stem cells to replace embryonic cells will greatly improve the ability of scientists to study ALS by providing an ethical and safe source of motor-neurons that may be used in ALS research.