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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal motor neuron disease which affects approximately 30,000 Americans at any given time (alsa.org, 2010). The etiology of this terminal disease unfortunately remains an unsolved mystery and has therefore severely limited the ability to find a cure. The use of stem cells to regenerate neurons has been vastly studied and have produced very promising results. However, its practicality as a cure or treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS, is greatly compromised. Three different therapies involving stem cells were examined, Embryonic Stem Cells (ESC), induced pluripotent stem cells, (iPSC) and direct reprogramming of adult stem cells into motor neural cells, and their advantages and limitations discussed. While ESC, iPSC and induced motor neural cells (iMNC) may have astonishing potential as a treatment they also have severe limitations ethically, clinically and effectively.

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