(JTA) — A new treatment tested at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem and developed by an American-Israeli biotech company appears to significantly slow the progression of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. According to the findings of initial clinical trials published Tuesday, Jan. 12, in the medical journal JAMA Neurology, the treatment, which uses a stem cell infusion protocol, is safe and offers “possible clinical benefits, to be confirmed in upcoming trials.”
Hadassah: The Women’s Zionist Organization, which owns Hadassah Medical Center, said in a news release that the clinical trials began in 2011 and use an “innovative” treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in which stem cells are harvested from the patient’s bone marrow before being injected into the cerebrospinal fluid. Twenty-six ALS patients participated in the trials of a treatment developed by BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics. The study’s principal investigator, Dr. Dimitrios Karussis of Hadassah Medical Center, described the results as “very encouraging.” A Phase 2, double blind study is running currently at the Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital and University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center using a treatment protocol identical to the Hadassah trial. According to the ALS Association, the disease affects 30,000 people in the United States and 450,000 worldwide.