posted at 06:50
Author: Todd Wasserman
So What Will the ALS Association Do With That $100 Million?
As the ALS Association's website points out, amyotrophic is Greek for "No muscle nourishment," which is a shorthand description of how the disease operates: Motor neurons connecting the brain to the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body degenerate, leaving the sufferer fully paralyzed or close to it. Still, there's little historical tracking of ALS - so there's no way to tell whether the disease is affecting more people now than in, say 1920. Dr. Steve Perrin, CEO of the ALS Therapy Development Institute, pointed out that GSK is executing a phase 3 trial for Ozanezumab, a drug that may be effective in treating ALS. While Perrin dismissed the notion of a cure for ALS, he foresees a cocktail approach in which various drugs are used. Such a cocktail approach has been used to treat other diseases, notably AIDS - but also Multiple Sclerosis, which like ALS is a neurogenerative disease that affects the central nervous system. There are now nine FDA-approved drugs that treat MS. As a result, Perrin said patients are often relieved to hear they have MS instead of ALS. Over the last 30 years, researchers have discovered that the immune system plays a prominent role in ALS - meaning cancer drugs might be used to nourish dying motor neurons, extending the life of a patient. Valerie Estess, founder of Project ALS believes there is a possibility that such genes could be "Silenced" in carriers, which could conceivably prevent the occurrence of ALS.

Posts Archive