Bone marrow transplants are a type of stem cell therapy. The stem cells that produce new blood cells are taken from the bone marrow of one individual and transplanted into another. This gives the recipient new stem cells that produce the cells that make up their blood, including white blood cells that fight infection and disease. It is known that the cells that function as the immune system in the brain are dysfunctional in MND. The precise mechanism by which this occurs has not been determined. However, researchers from Kansai Medical University in Osaka Japan have trialed bone marrow transplant as a potential therapeutic for MND in mice. The researchers took bone marrow from either normal or SOD1 MND mice for transplantations. The mice transplanted with normal bone marrow lived slightly longer than mice transplanted with SOD1 mouse marrow or non-transplanted mSOD1 mice. Importantly the normal marrow produced cells that found their way into the spinal cord and were found along side motor neurones. The authors suggest that this treatment may be useful in conjunction with other types of drugs yet to be discovered.
Source: International MND research update -September 2009, Dr Justin Yerbury for MNDRIA