Uncontrolled activation of the innate immune system promotes the deterioration of neurons in different neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). T-cell vaccination (TCV) was developed by Irun Cohen and coworkers at the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel) during the late 1970s and has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment for human autoimmune diseases and a regulator of macrophage activation in animal models.
We treated seven ALS patients with this cell therapy and were able to slow or stop disease progression in the affected individuals. The median survival, which is 3.5 years, was extended to 6 years. They were also treated with autologous adult neural stem cells associated with effector T cells. The observed neurologic improvements after treatment lasted for at least 1 year. Clinical recovery in the treated ALS patients was confirmed by an independent, skilled neurologist using the ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised (ALSFRS-R). TCV in conjunction with an autologous neural stem cell treatment might be a feasible, minimally invasive, safe, and effective approach to obtain enduring therapeutic effects in ALS patients.