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UW-Madison researchers get $7.2M to study Lou Gehrig’s disease


Stem cell scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have received a $7.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study rats with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

About 30,000 Americans have the disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. The disease usually causes death within a few years of diagnosis because it weakens the muscles to the point that sufferers can’t breathe.

Three groups of scientists covered by the five-year grant will inject stem cells into the brains of rats with the disease to see whether the cells improve muscle control and breathing.

The scientists will run tests using both fetal and embryonic stem cells.

Meanwhile, the university’s Waisman Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility and Clive Svendsen, co-director of the university’s Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center, are preparing banks of stem cells for studies in people with ALS.

Svendsen said it’s not clear when the trials would start because federal regulators first want to review results of safety studies done on pigs at Emory University in Atlanta.

Information from: Wisconsin State Journal,

–Associated Press

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