Stem cell study homes in on ALS cause

Mutated nerve cells called glial cells may secrete the poisons that cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, researchers reported on Sunday.

Two reports published in the journal Nature Neuroscience may show new ways to treat the degenerative nerve disease, which slowly paralyzes its victims until they die.

Both studies used embryonic stem cells from mice to generate batches of cells that mimicked the disease. The researchers said the studies demonstrate that embryonic stem cells can be vital for basic medical research.

Such batches of cells could also be used to test new drugs to treat the incurable and almost always ALS, also known as motor neuron disease.

Source:  Associated Press

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