3 reasons ALS research struggles to find treatment answers

Patient with ALS. Image credit: Internet Haber
Patient with ALS. Image credit: Internet Haber

[T]he desire to give [ALS] patients hope has often outstripped good scientific sense. “Many drugs that have gone into ALS clinical trials shouldn’t have, because the preclinical data package didn’t support it,” says [ALS Therapy Department Institute CEO] Steve Perrin.

Progress has been hindered by three main challenges. First, the disease’s causal mechanisms are poorly understood.

Second, ALS is a highly heterogeneous disease in terms of origin (90 percent to 95 percent of cases are sporadic rather than inherited), initial symptoms (patients may report limb weakness or difficulty in speaking or swallowing), and speed of progression (some patients live months, others decades, after diagnosis). This has made it tricky to model the disease.

Related article:  Urbanization is a ‘massive unplanned experiment’: How cities affect evolution

Finally, there are no quantitative biomarkers to track disease progression or serve as clinical endpoints for trials.

[H]owever, the explosion of biological and technical advances in the ALS therapy field—as well as growing connections between the players—have led to general optimism that future drug development might finally be able to avoid past pitfalls.

“ALS has been labeled incurable, but I think it will be curable with the right strategy,” says the University of Arkansas’s [pharmacologist Mahmoud] Kiaei. Steve Perrin agrees: “Many of the things that are in clinical development today are better shots on goal than they were a decade ago.”

Read full, original post: New ALS Therapies Move Closer to the Clinic

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend