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Defying Lou Gehrig

A currently used MS drug could protect against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Andrea Rinaldi(rinaldi@unica.it)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — the most common motor neuron disease in human adults — is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by the selective death of motor neurons. Despite a decade of intense studies the causes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) remain unclear and no effective therapy has been available. In an Advanced Online Publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Doychin Angelov and colleagues at the University of Cologne, Germany, report that a compound called Copaxone (Cop-1), currently used to treat multiple sclerosis, may also slow the progression of ALS (PNAS, 10.1073/pnas.0530191100, March 17, 2003).

Angelov et al. investigated the effects of Cop-1 in mice subjected to transection of the facial nerve, which normally causes the degeneration of axotomized motor neurons. Cop1 vaccination was found to protect against motor neuron death induced by facial nerve axotomy....

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