Dr. Feldman calls the gift a major boost to research. Mr. Taubmans generous funding allows us to venture into exciting new territory with stem cells. It gives our patients great hope that our new research with our California colleagues will translate the promise of stem cell technology into the reality of therapy for ALS patients.
Dr. Marsala, who hosted Dr. Feldman recently for several weeks of collaborative research, is an expert on grafting new cells into the spinal cord, and has studied the use of stem cells to treat spinal injuries caused by interruptions in blood flow.
The use of this technique in ALS, which involves the death of the motor neurons that send signals to the muscles and control movement, could be a new frontier in treating the disease.
Already, Marsala and Feldman have performed preliminary research in animals. The promising results from this study, which have not yet been published, form the basis for one prong of the attack on ALS that will be supported by Mr. Taubmans generous gifts.
If additional laboratory work proves successful, a clinical trial in ALS patients could begin within five years.
The other prongs of the attack involve two other laboratory-based approaches that could also lead to clinical trials. The first will develop a method to help ALS-affected nerve cells generate more of the molecules called growth factors that might keep them healthy.
Dr. Feldman and her team have already succeeded in creating a genetic snippet that can encourage cells to increase the number of times their genetic machinery reads the genetic blueprint for those growth fac
Contact: Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System