OCT 21, 2020 7:30 AM PDT

New ALS Treatment Extends Life for Several Months

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Currently, there are only two approved medications to treat Lou Gehrig's disease (also known as ALS), a condition popularized by the Ice Bucket Challenge. With neither of these medications being particularly effective, a two-drug combination developed by two college students from Brown University seven years ago has been found to allow patients to live several months longer.  

Known as AMX0035, the drug combination consists of an existing supplement and a medication for a pediatric urea disorder. 

For the study, researchers recruited 137 patients who had developed symptoms of ALS at least 18 months before the trial, were affected in at least three parts of the body, and had signs of the disease progressing rapidly. Most were already taking one or both of the approved ALS medications. 

All in all, it was found that the new drug combination managed to slow the progression of ALS paralysis by around 25% more than the placebo. Moreover, the researchers behind the study found that those receiving the placebo declined in 18 weeks to a level that patients receiving the treatment reached only after 24 weeks. 

One weakness of the study, however, is that it was only conducted for 24 weeks. Thereafter, those given the placebo were given the option to take the therapy for up to 30 months. As such, the researchers do not have full results for patients who only received the placebo for 30 months to compare with those receiving the treatment from Day 1. 

Nevertheless, the study reported that people who received AMX0035 during the trial and afterward lived an average of 6.5 months longer than those originally o the placebo- or 25 months compared to 18.5 months. 

While promising results, Dr. Walter Koroshetz, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, who wasn't involved in the trial, said that it wasn't clear how much the treatment benefited those who received it only after the 24-week trial. 

"It could mean that the drug is really effective and people who got the drug late really would have been dead at 12 months instead of 18," he said. "Or, the other way of thinking about it is that the drug is not effective unless you get it early. There's no clue here to which one of those is true."

 

SOurces: New York TimesUS News

 

About the Author
  • Science writer with a keen interest in behavioral biology, consciousness medicine and technology. Her current focus is how the interplay of these fields can create meaningful interactions, products and environments.
You May Also Like
MAR 02, 2021
Immunology
Another Trick up Tumors' Sleeves Exposed
MAR 02, 2021
Another Trick up Tumors' Sleeves Exposed
Tumors have sneaky strategies for establishing themselves within healthy tissues, flourishing in plain sight of circulat ...
MAR 02, 2021
Coronavirus
Vitamin B6 May Reduce the Risk of Severe COVID-19
MAR 02, 2021
Vitamin B6 May Reduce the Risk of Severe COVID-19
Scientists are trying to learn more about whether any nutrients, like vitamins C, D, and now B6, can provide some protec ...
MAR 06, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Green Tea Extract Can Affect Facial Development in Kids With Down Syndrome
MAR 06, 2021
Green Tea Extract Can Affect Facial Development in Kids With Down Syndrome
Individuals with Down syndrome often have certain facial features. New research has suggested that green tea supplements ...
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 22, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
New Method To Fast Track Drug Development
APR 22, 2021
New Method To Fast Track Drug Development
The time it takes to respond to disease outbreaks is critical. But designing drugs to combat these disease outbreaks is ...
MAY 11, 2021
Cardiology
Red Blood Cells Could Help Predict Recovery in Cardiovascular Patients
MAY 11, 2021
Red Blood Cells Could Help Predict Recovery in Cardiovascular Patients
Cells are one of the basic building blocks of life. There are hundreds of different cell types, and they all work togeth ...
Loading Comments...