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ngd- Here’s hoping it proves out in bigger studies…
So far, there has been no drug or treatment for the brain component of ALS, and no drug for HSP and PLS patients.
“Even though the upper motor neurons are responsible for the initiation and modulation of movement, and their degeneration is an early event in ALS, so far there has been no treatment option to improve their health,” said senior author Hande Ozdinler, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We have identified the first compound that improves the health of upper motor neurons that become diseased.”
The study will be published in Clinical and Translational Medicine on February 23.
The study was initiated after Silverman identified a compound, NU-9, developed in his lab for its ability to reduce protein misfolding in critical cell lines. The compound is not toxic and crosses the blood brain barrier.
The NU-9 compound addresses two of the important factors that cause upper motor neurons to become diseased in ALS: protein misfolding and protein clumping inside the cell. Proteins fold in a unique way to function; when they misfold they become toxic to the neuron. Sometimes proteins aggregate inside the cell and cause pathology as in the TDP-43 protein pathology. This happens in about 90% of all ALS patient brains and is one of the most common problems in neurodegeneration.