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Study identifies gene tied to motor neuron loss in ALS
Date:1/23/2014

nactivating MMP-9 is not a cure," said Dr. Henderson. "But it's remarkable that lowering levels of a single gene could have such a strong effect on the disease. That's encouraging for therapeutic purposes."

The researchers are still investigating how MMP-9 affects motor neuron function. Their findings suggest that the protein plays a role in increasing stress on the endoplasmic reticulum, an organelle involved in transporting and processing materials within cells. "Our goal is to learn more about MMP-9 and related pathways and to identify a new set of therapeutic targets," said Dr. Henderson.

The paper is titled, "Neuronal matrix metalloproteinase-9 is a determinant of selective neurodegeneration." The other contributors are Christopher Towne (Brain Mind Institute, cole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland), Kevin C. Kanning (CUMC), Ginn T. Choe (CUMC), Adam Geber (CUMC), Turgay Akay (CUMC), and Patrick Aebischer (Brain Mind Institute).

MMP-9 inhibitors developed for cancer have not been successful in that context. The authors hope that this study will encourage companies to explore clinical testing of such drugsor other modes of MMP-9 inhibitionin patients with ALS.


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Contact: Karin Eskenazi
ket2116@columbia.edu
212-342-0508
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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