Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis future or investigational therapies

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Overview

Calorie restriction is shown to have a negative effect, hastening the progression of ALS. Research has been done on using RNAi in the treatment of ALS, and Cytrx's orally-administered drug Arimoclomol is currently in clinical evaluation as a therapeutic treatment for ALS. Insulin-like growth factor 1 has also been studied as treatment for ALS.

Future or Investigational Therapies

Both animal and human research suggest calorie restriction (CR) may be contraindicated for those with ALS. Research on a transgenic mouse model of ALS demonstrates that CR may hasten the onset of death in ALS. [1] In that study, Hamadeh et al also note two human studies[2][3] that they indicate show "low energy intake correlates with death in people with ALS." However, in the first study, Slowie, Paige, and Antel state: "The reduction in energy intake by ALS patients did not correlate with the proximity of death but rather was a consistent aspect of the illness." They go on to conclude: "We conclude that ALS patients have a chronically deficient intake of energy and recommended augmentation of energy intake." (PMID 8604660)

Previously, Pedersen and Mattson also found that in the ALS mouse model, CR "accelerates the clinical course" of the disease and had no benefits.[4] Suggesting that a calorically dense diet may slow ALS, a ketogenic diet in the ALS mouse model has been shown to slow the progress of disease.[5]

The new discovery of RNAi has some promise in treating ALS. In recent studies, RNAi has been used in lab rats to shut off specific genes that lead to ALS. Cytrx Corporation has sponsored ALS research utilizing RNAi gene silencing technology targeted at the mutant SOD1 gene. The mutant SOD1 gene is responsible for causing ALS in a subset of the 10% of all ALS patients who suffer from the familial, or genetic, form of the disease. Cytrx's orally-administered drug Arimoclomol is currently in clinical evaluation as a therapeutic treatment for ALS.

Insulin-like growth factor 1 has also been studied as treatment for ALS. Cephalon and Chiron conducted two pivotal clinical studies of IGF-1 for ALS, and although one study demonstrated efficacy, the second was equivocal, and the product has never been approved by the FDA. In January of 2007, the Italian Ministry of Health has requested INSMED corporation's drug, IPLEX, which is a recombinant IGF-1 with Binding Protein 3(IGF1BP3) to be used in a clinical trial for ALS patients in Italy.

References

  1. Hamadeh MJ, Rodriguez MC, Kaczor JJ, Tarnopolsky MA. Caloric restriction transiently improves motor performance but hastens clinical onset of disease in the Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase mutant G93A mouse. Muscle Nerve. 2005 Feb;31(2):214-20. PMID 15625688.
  2. Kasarskis EJ, Berryman S, Vanderleest JG, Schneider AR, McClain CJ. Nutritional status of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: relation to the proximity of death. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Jan;63(1):130-7. PMID 8604660.
  3. Slowie LA, Paige MS, Antel JP. Nutritional considerations in the management of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). J Am Diet Assoc. 1983 Jul;83(1):44-7. PMID 6863783
  4. Pedersen WA, Mattson MP. No benefit of dietary restriction on disease onset or progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase mutant mice. Brain Res. 1999 Jun 26;833(1):117-20. PMID 10375685.
  5. Zhao Z, Lange DJ , Voustianiouk A, et al. A ketogenic diet as a potential novel therapeutic intervention in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. BMC Neuroscience 2006, 7:29. (PMID 16584562). Media report on Zhao et al.

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