On Friday, Yamagata University discovered that a medication designed to treat Alzheimer’s disease could also efficiently treat amyotrophic lateral Sclerosis, which is more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The drug effectively reduces the abnormal accumulation of proteins that cause progressive neurodegenerative conditions, say the researchers at the state-run university located in the northeastern region of Japan.
Patients with ALS have difficulty walking or talking, eating, and eventually breathing because the disease destroys motor neurons, which causes muscles to weaken and ultimately disable.
There are currently medications that slow the progression of the disease. However, the new treatment in development is the first to target the accumulation of protein in the spinal cord and brain, according to Takeo Kato, the chief of Yamagata Hospital’s ALS treatment research center.
The deadly disease is defined by the accumulation of ubiquitinated protein in motor neurons affected; however, the team of researchers successfully stopped the aggregation of the proteins of mice that have lab-grown ALS through the administration of this drug.
Because the study was carried out on mice with family-related ALS or the less prevalent kind, scientists will conduct studies on mice suffering from more widespread sporadic or non-inherited ALS.
The team’s goal is to initiate clinical trials involving humans in 2024.
Approximately 110,000 people from Japan have ALS, and there are about 1,000 to 2,000 being newly diagnosed every year, as per Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most frequent form of dementia believed to be caused by the accumulation of a protein fragment known as beta-amyloid and the twisted fibers from the protein tau that are building within the brain, as per the Alzheimer’s Association.
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