DEC 19, 2018 5:50 PM PST

Promising Drug for ALS?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

ALS, standing for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting the nerve cells of the brain and the spinal cord. Current treatments for ALS work by slowing the progression of the disease however by only a few months. Now, research at the University of Alberta shows a promising drug that not only significantly slows the progression of the disease but can revolutionize treatment for ALS patients by extending and improving their quality of life.

Learn more about ALS:

The drug is called telbivudine and is used as a treatment for patients with hepatitis making it particularly safe as a promising therapeutic for ALS. "It is already proven safe to use in patients, and it has very good potential for repurposing to use in a new clinical setting against ALS," said Ted Allison, co-author of the study and associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

In the research study published in Neurobiology of Disease, telbivudine was selected using computer simulations of most likely drug candidates before being tested on animal models. Specifically, the works by targeting a protein called SOD1. The protein was found to misfold and function improperly in ALS producing toxic effects that characterizes much of the phenotypic symptoms of the disease.

Credit: Medical News Today

"SOD1 is a protein that is known to misfold and misbehave in most cases of patients with ALS," says Allison. "We showed that telbivudine can greatly reduce the toxic properties of SOD1, including improving the health of the subject's motor neurons and improving movement."

However, because ALS is still not well understood by researchers and clinicians—promising therapeutics may take a while before being sent to clinical trials. But, this study provides one step closer.

“We don't yet know exactly what goes wrong first in the motor neurons or how the misbehaving SOD1 causes toxicity. Because there is still much to learn about the disease, the ALS research community focuses on both understanding ALS and on developing promising therapies,” explains lead author of the study—Michele DuVal.

Source: University of Alberta

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
You May Also Like
MAR 12, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Drug Starves Melanoma Tumors
MAR 12, 2021
Drug Starves Melanoma Tumors
Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have identified a drug candidate that blocks the uptake ...
APR 01, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Injection Treats Childhood Blindness
APR 01, 2021
Injection Treats Childhood Blindness
A patient with a genetic-based childhood blindness has gained vision after receiving an experimental RNA therapeutic tre ...
APR 15, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Magic Mushroom Therapy and Antidepressants Produce Similar Results
APR 15, 2021
Magic Mushroom Therapy and Antidepressants Produce Similar Results
In recent years, psilocybin (the psychoactive ingredient in 'magic mushrooms') has gained increasing amounts of ...
MAY 11, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Gene Therapy Trial for Severe Immune Disorder is Successful
MAY 11, 2021
Gene Therapy Trial for Severe Immune Disorder is Successful
Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), which virtually eliminates a patient's immune system, and severely affects thei ...
MAY 19, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Combination Immunotherapy Shows Promise in Treating HIV
MAY 19, 2021
Combination Immunotherapy Shows Promise in Treating HIV
  Researchers have found that a new combination immunotherapy, alongside antiretroviral therapy (ART), is effective ...
JUN 03, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Antibiotics Ineffective Against Lung-Scarring Disease
JUN 03, 2021
Antibiotics Ineffective Against Lung-Scarring Disease
Researchers behind a large trial of antibiotics for chronic lung diseases have found that that the drugs are ineffective ...
Loading Comments...