Re: [huntington's at risk] Process Reverses Lou Gehrig's Disease In Mice
- Does anyone have information about the conference coming up this month? This is the one in Pennsylvania!Thanks
Susie <angelrose@...> wrote:
Doctor Says Much More Work To Do To Prove Discovery
DALLAS -- A new medical discovery may signal the end of Lou Gehrig's
disease, say researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center at Dallas. The team of highly skilled researchers, led
by Elliott, doesn't give into excitement easily.
Elliott's team discovered bright red spots, or aggregates, in a
mutant protein called SOD1 trigger the death of motor neurons in
spinal cells of mice, the hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis --
which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
"And if we are able to find what exact portion of the molecule
induces aggregate formation, that is one of the important things to
help find a cure for the disease," researcher Dr. Uma Krishnan said.
What they discovered next gave Elliot's researchers a clue of where
to look. Dr. Krishnan Puttparthi said they found that when the SOD1
protein mutates, all other organs in the body can handle it except
the spinal cord.
"The liver has a high capacity to get rid of this thing rather than
the spinal cord, so we are looking into why the liver is not
affected ... why only the motor neurons," Puttparthi said.
Puttparthi and the rest of Elliott's team focused on finding out how
the other organs process the mutant SOD1 protein.
A few months ago, after trying chemicals found in other organs and
not found in motor neurons, the researchers made a startling
discovery in the cultures of mice spinal cords growing in their labs.
"We are causing the aggregates in these slices and then we see we are
able to remove those aggregates by treating them with other
chemicals," Puttparthi said.
Test after test proved the discovery, the chemicals removed the
aggregates in the mutant protein known to cause ALS in mice.
"It's a reversible process," Elliot said.
"I think that tells us that the nervous system can repair itself, in
a sense that it can remove these protein inclusions, and that is very
exciting," Puttparthi said.
While extremely successful in the lab culture dish, Elliott said
there is still much work to do to prove their discovery will reverse
ALS in humans. His team is now preparing for the next and possibly
the most important step in that research.
"To take it to a live animal, to see whether there it can be
reversed, not only reverse the aggregates, but, of course, reverse
the disease itself," Elliot said.
If the experiments in live mice prove successful, human trials could
be under way in less than two years, but there is more. The
researchers have discovered the mutant SOD1 protein is also found in
Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
# # #
Source: ThePittsburghChannel.com 28 Aug 2003
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