Research indicates ALS cellular models need aging
The new study, available in the Nature Neuroscience journal, includes induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as part of the models that could help researchers develop new treatments and therapies for the disease.
Scientists also used statistical and data models gathered from the ALS research community. These figures will now be made available to others involved in ALS research.
“By knowing the gene expression patterns that define adult motor neurons in the spinal cord, we can push the iPSC-derived motor neurons in the right direction in the petri dish,” Dr. Clive Svendsen, director of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, said.
ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease, damages the nerve cells, or neurons, in the spinal cord and brain. People who have ALS gradually lose all muscle control and initiative, becoming paralyzed and dying within just two to five years after receiving their diagnosis. As of today, no cure or treatment that significantly improves the disease exists.
“This important study will help ALS researchers better model the disease in cells,” Dr. Lucie Bruijn, chief scientist for the ALS Association, said. “iPSCs have become vital for understanding the disease and screening for new treatments, and by applying the results from this study, they can become even more valuable to the development of therapies for ALS. The discovery that age-related gene changes are also a consequence of the ALS disease process points directly toward possible targets for new treatments.”
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