Tag Archives: Q-cells

Researchers plan trial for Lou Gehrig’s disease therapy

By Brooke Adams, The Salt Lake Tribune

The mice at the top of a column of stacked plastic bins at Q Therapeutics are shivering so hard they seem to be jumping.

Their nonstop shivering and seizures are caused by a genetic defect that robs the mice of the crucial myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells and helps them send signals. Because of the defect, the mice are soon paralyzed and die prematurely.

It is a related problem — loss of this myelin sheath — that in humans causes the progressive loss of function in multiple sclerosis and several other diseases that can cause paralysis in humans.

And that’s why what has happened to the mice is so promising: After being treated with an adult stem cell therapy developed at Q Therapeutics, they are no longer shivering.

The product, called Q-Cells, also may be applicable to such neurodegenerative diseases as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS — better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Now, the National Institutes of Health have awarded a $5 million grant to Q Therapeutics, the University of Utah’s Cell Therapy Facility and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, which as a team has had success in animal models of ALS.

The funding will help support work needed to get permission from the Food and Drug Administration to start human clinical trials at Johns Hopkins. If efforts to raise additional funds are successful, those trials would begin next year.

“This type of therapy can bring about a major change in modern health care,” said Deborah Eppstein, CEO of Q Therapeutics. “It’s not just a little step. It’s a pole vault change, a going to the moon change.”

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