Dr. Erwin and his team have successfully differentiated stem cells obtain from the intervertebral disc, bone marrow and most recently, articular cartilage, into motor neurons and astrocytes – as well as other cells that are most affected by ALS.
Dr. Erwin and his team have successfully performed transplants in 48 SOD1 mice, using MRIgFUS to open the blood-spinal cord barrier and demonstrated that transplanted stem cells can safely integrate into the spinal cord.
Using this novel stem cell technique, we aim to obtain the stem cell from minimally invasive human nasal cartilage biopsy. The cartilage cells will be reprogrammed in vitro into neural-derived autologous stem cells. Learn more about Dr. Erwin's autologous adult stem cell research.
A novel approach using MRI-guided focused ultrasound (MRIgFUS) to open the blood-spinal cord barrier, and non-surgically deliver neural-derived autologous stem cell to the spinal cord of patients with ALS. Find out more here
Health Canada has already approved the MRIgFUS technique to open the brain-blood barrier in humans, but there is no safety data for the human spinal cord, which has important biological differences when compared to the brain.
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This Translational Research Fellowship will accelerate the steps between preclinical stem cell related studies (MRI-guided focused ultrasound technique in animals) and a proof-of-concept, first-in-human study to deliver stem cells to the spinal cord of Canadian patients with ALS. Agessandro’s research plan is detailed here.
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