Transplantation of human neural progenitor cells secreting GDNF into the spinal cord of patients with ALS: a phase 1/2a trial.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Nature medicine


washington; everett; prmc; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; Animals; Disease Models, Animal; Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor; Humans; Neural Stem Cells; Spinal Cord; Superoxide Dismutase


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) involves progressive motor neuron loss, leading to paralysis and death typically within 3-5 years of diagnosis. Dysfunctional astrocytes may contribute to disease and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) can be protective. Here we show that human neural progenitor cells transduced with GDNF (CNS10-NPC-GDNF) differentiated to astrocytes protected spinal motor neurons and were safe in animal models. CNS10-NPC-GDNF were transplanted unilaterally into the lumbar spinal cord of 18 ALS participants in a phase 1/2a study (NCT02943850). The primary endpoint of safety at 1 year was met, with no negative effect of the transplant on motor function in the treated leg compared with the untreated leg. Tissue analysis of 13 participants who died of disease progression showed graft survival and GDNF production. Benign neuromas near delivery sites were common incidental findings at post-mortem. This study shows that one administration of engineered neural progenitors can provide new support cells and GDNF delivery to the ALS patient spinal cord for up to 42 months post-transplantation.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)