Concerns arise after stem cell study for ALS causes pain in patients

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A discussion on ethics has been raised once again after a recent stem cell study caused pain for two human patients.

In previous studies, Dr. Jonathan Glass and his colleagues had relative success when they transplanted stem cells into the spinal cords of rodents, and later human patients, with ALS. Unfortunately, their newest study provided no benefit to patients and severe complications occurred in two of the patients as a result of the surgery involved. One developed partial paralysis and another experienced “incapacitating pain.” Despite this result, some have called for Glass to move forward.

According to Juanita Pharr, director of care for the Georgia Chapter of the ALS Association, this and other stem cell studies are certainly fair from a participant’s perspective, since beforehand, “patients are presented with all the risk factors involved so they can make an informed decision.”

“[The study] may have had a different effect on someone else,” Pharr said. “But that’s why we don’t have a treatment yet: because it doesn’t work for everyone.”

Read full, original post: Stem cell study for ALS patients shows promise, yet causes pain

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