Dr. Zon Alerts to National ALS Advocacy Day May 16; Notes Promising Stem Cell Work

In his latest “Zone in with Zon” blog post, dated May 2, 2017, and published by TriLink BioTechnologies of San Diego, Gerald “Jerry” Zon, PhD, gives advance notice of National ALS Advocacy Day that will take place on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. He notes that ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is commonly called “Lou Gehrig’s disease” in the United States after the famous New York Yankee baseball player Lou Gehrig who was struck by the disease and died two years after the dread disease forced him to leave the game in 1939. In his popular blog, Dr. Zon outlines the grim features of this fatal disease for which there is still no cure, but he also highlights promising stem cell work that has taken place recently in Israel. He reported that a company named BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (BCLI) has developed a patented stem cell-based technology that delivers a growth factor that can help neurons live longer at or near the site of injury or damage. More specifically, Dr. Zon noted, “a mesenchymal stem cell isolated from an ALS patient is grown in a cell culture under certain conditions to produce a differentiated phenotype that secretes brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) at a level at least five-times greater than normal.”….“After these ‘super secreting’ cells are obtained ex vivo, they are reintroduced into the same ALS patient (i.e., an autologous transplant), wherein BDNF acts on neurons of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, helping to support the survival of existing neurons, and encourage the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses.”
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