Motor Neurons are nerves in our brain and spinal cord that carry messages to muscles, telling them what to do. The term MND covers a group of similar conditions such as ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), PBP (Progressive Bulbar Palsy), PMA (Progressive Muscular Atrophy), PLS (Primary Lateral Sclerosis) that effect nerve cells which lead to loss of movement, weakness and wasting.
Early symptoms of disease include mild weakness, clumsiness, tripping over or slurred speech. But each one experience the disease in different way therefore difficult to diagnose and there are no definite tests but are usually identified by ruling out other conditions. Seeing how symptoms progress also helps but it takes time before a diagnosis is confirmed.
There is currently no cure for MND and shortens the lifespan. However, specialist support to manage symptoms and assessment of social care help people find services and support, and prolong independence. This helps to provide best possible quality of life at each stage of the disease. Symptoms get worse over time, so care needs will increase. With MND gripping, walking, speaking and swallowing can become increasingly difficult. Breathing can also be affected.
Till date there is no cure to this disease, but support can help manage symptoms. Some people with MND also experience changes to thinking and behaviour but usually this is mild and doesn’t affect day to day life. In a small number of cases this can be more severe and additional support may be needed.
At the moment it’s not clear what causes motor neurons to stop working properly, but our understanding of MND is constantly advancing. A small number of cases are linked to a family history, but there is more that we need to know. Research is ongoing.
MND is treated with some muscle relaxants, multivitamin supplements which results in reduction in muscle loss and plasticity. Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation also is commonly used to improve the quality of life of people with MND. As all know that major effects of MND is muscle loss and plasticity, Stem Cell therapy are now in the lime light for treatment of MND.
Stem Cells have been proven beyond doubt that have to potential to form new muscle cells, make or repair nerve cells, Stem cell technology has provided a new treatment option for MND patients. Stem Cell therapy helps to delay the progression of the disease. The premise of stem cell therapy for MND aims to improve the diseased microenvironment. Transplanted stem cells secrete neurotrophic factors and transform into supportive cells, such as astrocytes and microglia, generating a neuroprotective milieu that can slow degeneration of motor neurons. For this reason, stem cell transplants are currently used to protect patient’s healthy neurons, as well as grow new cells.
Many of studies have found that stem cell therapy for MND/ALS is safe and well tolerated by MND patients. In a study which included 26 patients, 67% experienced at least 25% improvement at six months after treatment in the slope of progression. Researchers hope treatments like this will be able to eventually stop the progression of MND.
After the harvest of stem cells from bone marrow or umbilical cord, they are administered into the patients in different routes. Intravenous infusions, Intramuscular injections and Intrathecal injections into the CSF (Cerebro spinal fluid). Having been said all the above, Stem cell therapy for MND is still on the research mode but there are many studies and trails which have proven results in the improvements of MND/ALS.