A drug used to treat hepatitis can slow down the ALS sequence, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, according to new research by University of Alberta scientists.
The drug, known as telbivudine, is targeting a protein of the SOD1 that is misleading in most cases of patients with ALS.
"We showed telbivudine can significantly reduce the toxic features of SOD1, including improving the health of the subject's motor neurons and improving movement," said Biologist and co-authored study Ted Allison.
Current treatments slow down the degradation of the degenerative disease only a few months, and these findings can improve the treatment patients suffer from ALS by extending and improving their quality of life.
The research team used computer simulations to identify drugs with the potential to target the SOD1 protein. From this short list, the scientists identified and tested the most likely candidates – including animal models using telbivudine.
"ALS did not understand well," said lead author Michele DuVal, who recently completed a PhD share Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry MD / PhD program under the supervision of Allison.
"We do not yet know exactly what goes out of place first in the motor neurons or how the SOD1 misconduct causes toxicity. As many people learn from up for the disease, the ALS research community focuses on understanding ALS and on developing promising therapies. "
The next step for researchers is further testing to see how effective telbivudine is in reducing ALS sequence in other animal models.
The discovery is particularly exciting because the drug is already being used for treating patients with hepatitis, and therefore approved by health regulators, clinical trials in human patients could happen faster.
"It has already been proven to be used in patients, and it has very good potential to reuse it to use in a new clinical location against ALS , "says Allison.
The research was conducted in conjunction with Lab Kovalenko in the National Research Council on U campus.
The study, "Tryptophan 32 Compared to SOD1 Gwenwyndra in a Motor Neurons Model Live from ALS and Is A Promising Target for Small Molecular Therapeutics, "After publishing in Neurobiology of Disease.
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