Navigation Links
Finding Raises Hope for Treating ALS

Time between onset and symptoms could be targeted for therapy, study suggests,,

MONDAY, JUNE 15 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers now believe that ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, starts well before its debilitating symptoms appear, a finding that they say could eventually lead to an effective treatment.

Protein clumps in cells that show up only after damage has occurred, rather than at the onset of the disease, appear responsible for the paralyzing course of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), according to University of Florida researchers.

The research team found that the formation of these clumps of defective proteins and cell matter, called "protein aggregates," actually signals that ALS is progressing at a rapid pace.

In ALS, nerve cells extending from the brain to the spinal cord and then to the muscles die off. Its cause is unknown, though an inherited defective gene is suspected in up to 20 percent of cases. Scientists thought it originated with malformed -- or "misfolded" -- proteins that malfunction and lead to the protein aggregates in the brain.

The ALS Association says that about 30,000 Americans have the disease, which is often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, after the renowned ballplayer who died of ALS.

The Florida researchers examined the gene that produces superoxide dismutase 1, or SOD1, an enzyme that fights off free radicals -- molecules that damage the body's cells. People with the inherited version of ALS have been found to have one of the 146 known mutations in the SOD1 gene.

In the online edition of Human Molecular Genetics, the researchers wrote that the SOD1 mutations most likely to cause the protein clumps were also linked to the disease's faster progression.

Another study, recently published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that mice genetically altered to have ALS experience cell damage well before protein aggregates start to appear, a time that coincides with telltale symptoms of the disease.

"As the disease enters the symptomatic stage in mice, the buildup of protein is rapid and dramatic," David Borchelt, director of the SantaFe HealthCare Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the university's McKnight Brain Institute, where the studies took place, said in a university news release. "However, the formation of these aggregates is not the whole story. It is well-established that significant damage to the nervous system occurs well before the symptoms appear. The uncontrolled misfolding of SOD1 seems to be confined to the late stage of disease, which is when symptoms first appear, giving hope that treatments targeting this process could be beneficial."

The finding suggests that there may be significant time to treat ALS before the clumping and symptoms appear, signaling the quickening pace of progression. But this would require development of an accurate way to diagnose ALS before symptoms emerge.

"Blocking aggregation of these proteins could be a therapeutic target for individuals with this genetic mutation," Borchelt said. "Right now, there is little that can be done to help these patients."

More information

The ALS Association has more about ALS.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: University of Florida, news release, June 8, 2009

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Perrier Refutes Consumer Council Findings
2. Finding May Lead to Vaccine for Travelers Diarrhea
3. Finding Fitness on the Dance Floor
4. Findings in Epilepsy Gene in Animals May Guide Treatment Directions for Infants
5. Findings in epilepsy gene in animals may guide treatment directions for infants
6. Pitt melanoma researchers present novel findings at ASCO
7. Finding Hidden Heart Attacks: Saint Francis Hospital is First in Illinois to Detect Hidden Heart Attacks With New Technology
8. Finding a New Doctor Becoming More Difficult for Medicare Recipients Says
9. Statement by American Legacy Foundation(R): Findings of Decades of Massive Fraud by Tobacco Industry Upheld in U.S. Court of Appeals
10. HIMSS Analytics and NetMotion Wireless Release Study Findings on Key Challenges for Wireless Healthcare Deployments
11. UCSF creates fast, affordable tool for finding gene on-off switches
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Finding Raises Hope for Treating ALS
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop a weight loss fitness ... to fix the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, , ... They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their exercise program ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Miami, FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: ... The closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for ... is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex ... as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and ... a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that 20 Florida ... their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent of lawyers ... as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami Shareholders Mark ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Tenn. , June 24, 2016  Arkis ... providing less invasive and more durable cerebrospinal fluid ... in funding.  The Series-A funding is led by ... Lighthouse Fund, and other private investors.  Arkis, new ... neurosurgical instrumentation and the market release of its ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... report to their offering. ... kidney failure, it replaces the function of kidneys by removing ... thus the treatment helps to keep the patient body,s electrolytes ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial healthcare expenditure ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ... (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), Inorganic Chemical), Functionality (Filler, ... Global Forecast to 2021" report to their offering. ... pharmaceutical excipients market is projected to reach USD 8.1 ... the forecast period 2016 to 2021. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: