Looks like you’re on the UK site. Choose another location to see content specific to your location

Home Industry News Gene holds key to Lou Gehrig’s disease

Gene holds key to Lou Gehrig’s disease

10th December 2008

A medical scientist says he has made progress in tackling a disease believed to be one of the worst ways to die.

By the time a patient notices the muscle weakness caused by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, the neurons controlling their muscles have already begun dying in a process which usually brings death within two to five years.

Now Jeff Johnson, professor in the school of pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has claimed to have identified a gene which could prolong life for those suffering from the disease.

The gene, known as Nrf2, pushed the neurons’ support cells into “overdrive” and created extra quantities of the anti-oxidant glutathione.

This made all the difference, Prof Johnson argued. The mice he experimented on died of ALS nonetheless but lived 17 days longer ? an extension close to five to ten years in human terms.

Professor Johnson warned that creating more glutathione is not a straightforward process, saying: “It’s extremely difficult to increase glutathione in the central nervous system.”

“You can’t just shoot it into people or animals. But we found a 25 per cent increase in the molecule in the spinal cords.”

We currently have 6 jobs available in Pharmacy industry, find your perfect one now.

Stay informed

Receive the latest industry news, Tips
and straight to your inbox.