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ALS Treatment Options: Stem Cells vs. Traditional Methods

ALS is a neurological condition that causes a slow decline of motor functions, having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of people with the disease. There is no cure for ALS, but there are some treatment options that can help manage and reduce symptoms and potentially prevent the disease from progressing.

In this article, we’ll compare conventional treatment options for ALS with stem cell therapy, touching on stem cell treatment price, benefits and safety.

Traditional Treatment Methods

Most conventional treatment methods focus on treating the symptoms of ALS, such as:

  • loss of motor control
  • twitching and cramping
  • difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • impaired speech

Medication is one of the most common traditional treatment methods. For example, Riluzole is a common medication that extends the lifespan of ALS patients and delays dependence on a ventilator or tracheostomy. The medication can cause side effects such as dizziness and liver problems.

Edaravone is a common drug infusion that can delay motor function decline. Side effects include blistering, irritation, chest pain and confusion.

Physiotherapy can also help people with ALS deal with pain and live with reduced mobility. Occupational therapists can help people with ALS maintain their independence by teaching them how to manage daily tasks such as dressing, bathing and eating.

Joining an ALS support group is a great way for people with ALS to get emotional support. Group members can also find new ways to manage their disease through their group.

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell treatment for ALS is a safe, effective and non-invasive therapy that treats the root cause of ALS. Stem cells can differentiate into different cell types and regenerate damaged cells. Stem cells also have immunomodulating and anti-inflammatory properties that help treat a range of diseases.

The main difference between stem cell therapy and conventional treatments is that conventional treatments treat only the symptoms of the disease, while stem cell therapy aims to restore damaged cells that cause the symptoms.

How do stem cells work in ALS treatment?

ALS is characterized by a loss of neurons in the brain and the spinal cord. When stem cells are injected into the body they migrate to these regions, differentiate into nerve cells, repair damaged cells and promote the growth of new ones.

Stem cells also release growth factors and neuroprotective molecules that promote the growth of new neurons and prevent neurons from dying. This regenerative and neuroprotective effect can slow or even stop the progression of ALS.

Safety of MSCs vs. embryonic stem cells

Stem cell therapy using embryonic stem cells has been shown to increase the risk of tumor formation. Therefore, clinics such as Swiss Medica only use MSCs for stem cell therapy.

Stem cell therapy using MSCs is proven to be safe, with the most common side effect being a fever following stem cell injection. Contraindications like active infections and a history of cancer can make patients ineligible for MSC therapy.


Limitations and realistic expectations

Conventional treatment methods can help patients live with ALS, maintain their independence and extend their lifespan, but they do not cure the disease.

Stem cell therapy can have amazing benefits for ALS, but keep in mind it’s not a magic cure. The effectiveness of the treatment can be limited depending on the patient’s age, stage of condition and lifestyle.

Comparison of Stem Cells and Traditional Methods

Conventional treatment methods focus on helping patients cope with symptoms of ALS. Occupational therapy and physiotherapy can help patients manage their everyday tasks, and these therapies don’t come with side effects.

Medication is a non-invasive therapy and can provide relief to people with ALS. However, medications focus on managing symptoms and extending lifespan but don’t aim to treat the underlying issues.

Stem cell treatment is revolutionary because it treats the underlying nerve damage that leads to ALS symptoms. It’s also a non-invasive therapy and comes with fewer side effects than medications. Unlike medications and physiotherapy, stem cell therapy can slow or even stop the progression of ALS.

Stem cell treatment price is not typically covered by insurance, which can make this treatment option more expensive than conventional methods.

In Conclusion

ALS medications focus on managing symptoms and prolonging lifespan and also come with serious side effects. Physiotherapy, occupational therapy or an ALS support group can help people with ALS learn to cope with the disease and don’t have the negative effects that medications do.

Stem cell therapy is an emerging option that treats ALS by targeting the underlying nerve damage that causes the symptoms of the disease. It may be a more expensive therapy, but stem cells can repair and replace damaged neurons to restore motor function while slowing or even stopping ALS progression.