Project ALS - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/13/06

Project ALS

Laura McWhorter has ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. It's a degenerative neurologic disease that is eventually fatal. And there's no cure.

"The decline is relentless actually. I notice just on a weekly basis that I'm not able to do things that I was a week ago,"says McWhorter.

But now, a private organization is trying to change that by defying a federal ban on stem cell research.

"It's born out of necessity because it, it seems unamerican in the eyes of project als to watch people die from brain disease when answers are among us uh in the form of stem cells," says Valerie Estess, from project ALS.

The Bush Administration prohibits federal funding for virtually all human embryonic stem cell research. But that has led to private efforts like this one called project ALS. Its privately funded lab has already shown that mouse stem cells can be transformed into nerve cells, which can then connect with muscles. When transplanted into rats, they have actually recovered neurologic function that had been lost before.

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