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Amyotroph Lateral Scler. 2010 May 3;11(3):328-30. doi: 10.3109/17482961003663555.

No benefits from experimental treatment with olfactory ensheathing cells in patients with ALS.

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Department of Neurology, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Centre Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Cell based therapies may be promising options for treating ALS. These therapies aim at neuronal replacement or they may prevent dysfunctional motor neurons from dying. Conflicting results on transplantation of olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) in ALS mouse models indicate that this technique is not yet ready to progress to clinical trials. A Chinese group has nevertheless treated ALS patients with OECs. We carried out a prospective study of seven patients who underwent OEC treatment in China, following them from four months before departure until one year after treatment. Muscle strength, level of daily functioning and respiratory capacity were measured at regular intervals. Three patients reported subjective positive effects directly after treatment. No individual objective improvement was measured, and outcome measures gradually declined in all patients. Two patients had severe side-effects. Based on our findings in these ALS patients who underwent experimental OEC treatment, we conclude that there are no indications that this treatment is beneficial.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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