41 year old David Neufeglise was a healthy family man and mechanical engineer when he started noticing constant twitching in his arm. After months of tests, the devastating diagnosis came back last January as ALS.
Life suddenly shifted for David, his wife and their three daughters. ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is progressive and there’s no cure. Most patients die within 3 to 5 years. So David was open to any potential treatments. His doctors told him about a clinical trial at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston testing a new stem cell technology. The treatment from BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics uses the patient’s own stem cells, extracted from a sample of their bone marrow. They’re multiplied and matured to make them behave more like brain cells, then injected back into the patient where the cells help repair the brain and spinal cord. Researchers hope the treatment can decrease brain inflammation that causes worsening of ALS. These stem cells from people’s own bodies can act like an anti-inflammatory drug. The disease has already affected David’s balance and his hand movements, but he says he’s grateful to take part in this study. He gets injections every 8 weeks and is encouraged about what the treatment could do for him and others.
About 200 people are being recruited to take part in the clinical trial. Three previous smaller trials showed positive results.