JAN 24, 2019 10:34 AM PST

Drug Blocks Toxic-Protein Production in ALS

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Individuals with ALS, frontotemporal dementia, carry a mutation in the gene C9orf72—resulting in repeated DNA sequences. These repetitions result in the production of toxic proteins that are associated with the development of ALS. Now, a new study aims to target a stress response with a known drug that may result in a decrease of toxic-protein production. "Both cellular stress and over-excitation eventually converge into the integrated stress response,” explains first author and graduate student, Thomas Westergard.

Learn more about ALS:

"Understanding what triggers toxic proteins production helped us hone in on drugs that could block them in laboratory tests," says co-senior author Aaron Haeusler, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience within the Vickie & Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience. Specifically, the researchers showed that the stress responses that trigger toxic protein production are similar to what happens during a seizure event.

The known drug used in the study is called ‘Trazodone’ and is currently approved for the treatment of depression and known to act on stress response. Trazodone was tested on models of the disease and was found to indeed inhibit toxic protein production of toxic protein in a cellular model contained the mutation. "This is a significant step forward in our collaborative approach," said co-author Dr. Piera Pasinelli, PhD, who lead the Jefferson Weinberg ALS Center. "Working together allowed us to speed up the research process getting from the identification of the "pathogenic stress" to testing a potentially useful drug. ALS is a complex and heterogenous disease that needs this collaborative approach, with each lab contributing its own expertise, to fill the gaps and to put together this complex puzzle in a systematic and efficient way.”

credit: healthiculture.com

Researchers are now looking forward to expand their studies for other compounds that might work better than trazodone. Results of the study were published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
NOV 25, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Improving Drug Dissolution
NOV 25, 2020
Improving Drug Dissolution
When you take your medicine, it travels through the bloodstream and releases its effects. When the drug dissolves too fa ...
DEC 15, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Drug Reverses Age-Related Mental Decline
DEC 15, 2020
Drug Reverses Age-Related Mental Decline
An experimental drug, called ISRIB, has shown to reverse age-related mental decline in mice with just a few doses " ...
DEC 24, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
New Gene Therapy Targets Deafness
DEC 24, 2020
New Gene Therapy Targets Deafness
New gene therapy study addresses treatment methods for deafness. "In this study we focused on genetic deafness caus ...
FEB 20, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Deep Brain Stimulation Offsets Epileptic Seizures
FEB 20, 2021
Deep Brain Stimulation Offsets Epileptic Seizures
Researchers from the University of Freiburg in Germany have found that deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the brain’s ...
FEB 07, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Beta-Blockers Can Repair Broken Blood Vessels
FEB 07, 2021
Beta-Blockers Can Repair Broken Blood Vessels
Propranolol is a drug that can treat infantile haemangiomas but was found to also treat a blood vessel condition that le ...
FEB 25, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Future COVID-19 Targets Rapidly Identified with Computer Simulations
FEB 25, 2021
Future COVID-19 Targets Rapidly Identified with Computer Simulations
A recent mechanism as detailed in the novel SARS-CoV2 that causes COVID-19 could help scientists find new therapeutics. ...
Loading Comments...