Stem cells have the potential to treat a wide range of diseases, including diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease), spinal cord injury, and heart disease. Stem cells are such a powerful tool for treating disease that there is no disease that is exempt from a possible treatment that comes out of stem cell research.

First: Read The ISSCR Patient Handbook

Next, post to the discussion board: Answers to the following questions: Suppose your doctor tells you that you have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease) and your doctor recommends stem cell treatment. You have been told that your health insurance company does not pay for stem cell therapy.

The ISSCR Patient Handbook refers the reader to to find out about clinical trials for particular therapies. Use this website to find out if there have been any trials of stem cell therapy for ALS. If there are none, say so, but if there are more than one trial, pick one trial and include a summary as part of your post.

Use the PubMed search function to find a recent article about stem cell therapies for ALS. Does the abstract indicate there is evidence that stem cell therapy could work for ALS? Be sure to include a full citation of the paper you chose when you post your answer.

Having heard from your doctor and your insurance company, and after reading and doing your own research, would you consent to undergoing stem cell therapy? What factors did you consider in order to make this decision? Your answer should be based in the science of stem cells and whether or not receiving this therapy would be a worthwhile risk for you, as someone with ALS.

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