Researchers at Tel Aviv University recently conducted a study that led to the discovery of a previously unknown mechanism involved in the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It is believed that this discovery could lead to a treatment for the fatal disease.
Dr. Eran Perlson of the university’s Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine led the study. The team of researchers working under Perlson found that the motor neurons of ALS patients are destroyed due to toxins excreted from the muscle. The study’s results led the team to conclude that the foundation for a future treatment for the disease could be a specific microRNA molecule that blocks the genes that cause the toxin dissemination.
“We believe that our discovery constitutes a genuine breakthrough on the path to developing effective treatments for ALS and maybe also for other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which destroy different nerves, in the future,” Perlson explained.
ALS, also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a disease that destroys the neurons that control the voluntary muscles in the patient’s body, which leads to permanent disabilities. At the moment, there is no cure for the disease.
World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking passed away about two months ago after being diagnosed with ALS in the 1960s. Over the decades, his condition worsened as he became paralyzed. He even lost the ability to speak in 1985 after he caught pneumonia.