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Therapy slows onset and progression of Lou Gehrig's disease, study finds
Date:9/9/2013

earlier and advances more quickly. In the other, the disease develops later and progresses more slowly. All of the mice received a single injection of AAV9-SOD1-shRNA before or after disease onset.

Results showed that in the rapid-disease-progressing model, mice treated before disease onset saw a 39 percent increase in survival compared to control treated mice. Strikingly, in mice treated at 21 days of age, disease progression was slowed by 66 percent. Perhaps more surprising was the finding that even after symptoms surfaced in these models, treatment still resulted in a 23 percent increase in survival and a 36 percent reduction in disease progression. In the slower-disease-onset model, treatment extended survival by 22 percent and delayed disease progression by 38 percent.

"The extension of survival is fantastic, and the fact that we delayed disease progression in both models when treated at disease onset is what drives our excitement to advance this work to human clinical trials," said Kevin Foust, PhD, co-first author on the manuscript and an assistant professor in neurosciences at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

In addition to the potential therapeutic benefit, the study also offers some interesting insights into the biological underpinnings of ALS. The role of motor neurons in ALS has been well documented, but this study also highlighted another key playerastrocytes, the most abundant cell type in the human brain and supporters of neuronal function.

"Recent work from our collaborator Dr. Cleveland has demonstrated that astrocytes and other types of glia are as important if not more important in ALS, as they really drive disease progression," said Dr. Kaspar. "Indeed, in looking at data from mice, more than 50 percent of astrocytes were targeted throughout the spinal cord by this gene-delivery approach."

Ideally, a therapy would hit motor neurons and astrocytes equally hard. The best way to do th
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Contact: Gina Bericchia
Gina.Bericchia@NationwideChildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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