Progress is ongoing in coaxing stem cells along specific paths, altering their genes and understanding the immune response to stem cell transplantation
Stem cells are a hot topic these days in medicine, science and law, although the term has multiple meanings and it's easy to get confused.
In short, stem cells are cells at an early stage of development from which specialized cells, such as muscle or nerve cells, can develop (in other words, from which these specialized cells "stem").
Different kinds of stem cells are referred to as:
When ALS-affected nerve cells lose function, their closest neighbors can't protect them
A vicious cycle in which damage to nerve cells (neurons) in the spinal cord results in the loss of an important mechanism to protect neurons, causing more neuron loss, has been identified as a possible contributor to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Identification of this pathway opens the door to targeting it with therapeutic agents.