The June issue of Scientific American on newsstands this month features, “Unlocking the Mystery of ALS,” which details the significant advances of ALS research over the years. The authors, Drs. Leonard Petrucelli at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and Aaron Gitler at the Stanford University School of Medicine, thoughtfully explained the complicated science behind ALS, while weaving a story of its breakthroughs and the steps needed to get to the ultimate goal – an end to ALS. They covered genetic discovery, starting with SOD1 in 1993 through today, which has sky rocketed in recent years, largely in part due to the donations dedicated to ALS research through the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Exciting therapeutic advances were explained, like a gene silencing technique, called antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) therapy, a way to track disease progression and improve diagnosis, called biomarkers, and targeting the support cells of the brain, called glia, and more were all described in a clear way.
At the center of ALS research is always the people living with the disease and their families. From helping to increase public awareness, to fundraising to support ALS research, to participating in clinical trials – an effort that requires time, patience and donated biological samples – all demonstrate how people living with ALS are paramount to ALS research.
“Scientists are optimistic that the explosive growth in our understanding of ALS biology will continue and that casting an ever widening dragnet for rogue genes will lead to better therapies for holding this stealth killer at bay.” – Authors Drs. Petrucelli and Gitler
Learn more and read the full article here.
Citation: Scientific American, June 2017 issue, pp. 46-54.
The ALS Association proudly supports Dr. Petrucelli’s research project exploring the C9orf72 expansion.