Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Evidence Of Retroviral Involvement In Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Date:
February 15, 2005
Source:
Project A.L.S.
Summary:
A significant proportion of patients suffering from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease or motor neuron disease, have a marker of retrovirus activity in their blood, reports the February 8 issue of the medical journal Neurology.

New York (February 7, 2005) -- A significant proportion of patients suffering from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease or motor neuron disease, have a marker of retrovirus activity in their blood, reports the February 8 issue of the medical journal Neurology. The study was led by Dr. Jeremy A. Garson of University College London, UK and Dr. Ammar Al-Chalabi of King's College London, UK, and was funded in full by Project A.L.S.

Related Articles


The research confirms and extends the results of earlier work by Drs Garson and Al-Chalabi in which they had found evidence of retroviral involvement in a group of UK patients with ALS. The present study on Americans with ALS, done in collaboration with Drs. Robert H. Brown, Jr. and Merit Cudkowicz at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, shows that 47% of ALS patients have reverse transcriptase activity detectable in their serum.

"This is a very exciting finding that points towards the possibility of retrovirus involvement in ALS. However, much work remains to be done and we are very much aware that in virology, as in other branches of medical science, finding an association is not the same as proving a cause," said Dr. Garson.

Reverse transcriptase is an enzyme associated with retroviruses. The presence of this enzyme activity in serum therefore implies that a retrovirus may be involved in ALS. It is not yet known whether the enzyme activity detected in this study reflects activation of a so-called endogenous retrovirus, which is already present in human DNA, or infection with an external exogenous retrovirus.

Retroviruses have been known for many years to be implicated in the pathogenesis of ALS-like syndromes in certain strains of mice and in rare cases of individuals with HIV infection. Drs. Garson and Al-Chalabi have demonstrated that the previously described human retroviruses HIV and HTLV are not involved in typical ALS cases. Future work will determine whether an endogenous retrovirus is activated in ALS, or whether there is infection with a novel, exogenous ALS-associated retrovirus.

The next phase of this exciting work, funded by Project A.L.S., has recently commenced. It is hoped that further progress in this area will lead to the development of improved diagnostic tests and novel therapeutic strategies, and to a greater understanding of the fundamental causes of this progressive and ultimately fatal neurological disease.

"The important study from King's College and University College gives new life to the hypothesis that ALS is a consequence of an atypical infection; follow-up studies will now be essential to pin down the actual offending agent," said Dr. Brown.

###

Project A.L.S., a 5013 that is committed to finding and funding treatments and a cure, began supporting this study in 2001 after learning that Drs. Garson and Al-Chalabi, who led the intriguing original investigation, had run out of funding. "This was a dormant study, a forgotten study, which Project A.L.S. discovered in a simple literature search on the internet," said Valerie Estess, director of research for Project A.L.S. "I am pleased that Project A.L.S. was able to give this work a second life, and that it is yielding solid clues as to the possible causes of ALS."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Project A.L.S.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Project A.L.S.. "New Evidence Of Retroviral Involvement In Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211092539.htm>.
Project A.L.S.. (2005, February 15). New Evidence Of Retroviral Involvement In Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211092539.htm
Project A.L.S.. "New Evidence Of Retroviral Involvement In Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211092539.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins