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UCI clinical trial gives hope to mom with ALS

April 20, 2018

IN THE NEWS: UCI Health neurologist Namita Goyal, MD, and patient Lisa Wittenberg speak to the Los Angeles Times about a clinical trial to determine whether an experimental stem cell-based treatment can slow, and potentially even stop, the progression of the neuromuscular disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS):

Lisa Wittenberg can recall with photographic detail each moment her body began to fail.

It started with mild back pain in spring 2016, but Wittenberg figured she'd just tweaked something.

She began seeing a physical therapist and stopped working out.

Then in early 2017 came the limp — what the therapist termed "drop foot." …

Then on Aug. 28, Wittenberg, 47, of Trabuco Canyon received an official diagnosis: she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

"It was unbelievable to get that answer," Wittenberg said. …

In the midst of all that emotional chaos, Wittenberg did have one point of hope — a medical trial conducted by UC Irvine's Alpha Stem Cell Clinic and Department of Neurology concerning a potential treatment for ALS.

The trial is run by the UCI Alpha Stem Cell Clinic and sponsored by BrainstormCell Therapeutics.

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