ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – Promising new research at the University of Michigan that could bring new hope to those suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The initial work is to make sure the injections are safe, but it’s hoped that eventually they could help patients to breathe.

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U of M Neurology Professor Dr. Eva Feldman says she’s been injecting embryonic stem cells into the spines of Lou Gehrig’s patients.

“The goal there is to be able to preserve the ability of patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease to breathe. Unfortunately, that is why patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease eventually pass away,” says Dr. Feldman.

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The early trials are just to test how safe the injections are, but Feldman is hoping to get FDA approval to move ahead with the research.

“In our mind, the most important thing is to preserve the length of life and the quality of life and we believe that by doing stem cell injections in the upper part of the spine, we’ll be able to make that goal,” says Dr. Feldman.

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She talked about the study Monday at a four-university Stem Cell Michigan meeting at U of M.