Motor neuron disease (MND) is an insidious, fatal disorder that progresses with the selective loss of anterior horn cells of the spinal column. Over 150 years since it was first described, various therapeutic approaches have been tested in the quest of a cure but with little success. Current standard therapy only improves lifespan by a few months; palliative care is the only option available for patients. Stem cell therapy is a potent approach for the treatment of this devastating disease. A multitude of vitalizing effects, both paracrine and somatic, a robust safety profile, as well as ease of availability make a strong case for using these cells for therapeutic purposes. Coupled with rigorous rehabilitation, this powerful treatment modality has been shown to slow disease progression, improve quality of life, and increase survival, along with being well tolerated by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/MND patients. Compelling preclinical as well as clinical evidence abounds that stem cells hold great potential as a therapy for ALS/MND. Although not a definitive solution yet, stem cells have been verified to have slowed and/or halted disease progression in a subset of ALS/MND patients.
Part of the book: Novel Aspects on Motor Neuron Disease
Spinal cord injury is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Current mainstay treatment strategies consist of surgical and medical management in acute and subacute stage. Rehabilitative management in the chronic stage. None of the existing strategies can repair the damage to the spinal cord and recover neurological functioning. Stem cells have promising results in pre-clinical and clinical studies. Various pre-clinical studies have evidenced neuro-regenerative capabilities of stem cells and shown neural recovery. Clinical studies have also shown improvements in neurological functions and quality of life. This chapter discusses about different types of cells available, routes of administration available to transplant these cells, dosages of cell and optimum time after injury at which cells should be transplanted based on world-wide literature. We have also discussed results following our protocol of intrathecal transplantation of autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells. Although, not a cure, stem cell therapy further improves quality of life, functional independence and reduces secondary complications when combined with existing treatment strategies; neuroregenerative rehabilitative therapy.
Part of the book: Spinal Cord Injury Therapy