Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers discover blood biomarker for Lou Gehrig's disease, could lead to new treatments

Date:
August 6, 2012
Source:
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that changes in monocytes (a type of white blood cell) are a biomarker for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease. The findings open doors to possible new treatments.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) are the first to discover that changes in monocytes (a type of white blood cell) are a biomarker for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. This finding also brings the medical community a step closer toward a new treatment for the debilitating neurological disease that affects approximately 30,000 Americans.

The study will be published online in The Journal of Clinical Investigation on August 6, 2012.

In pre-clinical studies involving mice with an ALS gene mutation, the researchers saw that two months prior to ALS onset, monocytes in the spleen began exhibiting proinflammatory qualities. As disease onset loomed, there was an increase in cell-signaling molecules that directed monocytes to flood the spinal cord. Influx of these inflamed white blood cells was associated with nerve cell death in the spinal cord.

When the researchers treated the mice with antibodies to modulate the inflammatory monocytes, they found that it led to fewer monocytes entering the spinal cord, diminished nerve cell loss and extended survival.

After having observed these activities in mice, the BWH researchers, working with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) ALS Clinic and research team, found that there were similar monocytes in humans with ALS that also exhibited a disease-specific inflammatory signature.

"People have wondered if the immune system plays a role in neurological diseases like ALS," said Howard Weiner, MD, director of the BWH Multiple Sclerosis Program and senior study author. "The immune system is complicated, and previous immunotherapy trials have not been successful. But now we know what is wrong in the blood, and this opens up new therapeutic targets for ALS and perhaps other diseases in the near future."

Study co-author Merit Cudkowicz, MD, who heads the ALS program at MGH adds, "These findings identify a potential new target for developing treatments for people with ALS."

Oleg Butovsky, PhD, BWH Department of Neurology is first study author and lead scientist on the study.

Each year, approximately 5,600 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS, a disease that affects nerve and muscle functioning, eventually leading to paralysis. The average age at diagnosis is 55 years old and half of those affected live at least three or more years after being diagnosed. Twenty percent live five years or more, and up to 10 percent will live more than ten years.

This research was supported by the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association, National Institutes of Health (AG027437), Prize for Life, and the Tufts Center for Neuroscience Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Oleg Butovsky, Shafiuddin Siddiqui, Galina Gabriely, Amanda J. Lanser, Ben Dake, Gopal Murugaiyan, Camille E. Doykan, Pauline M. Wu, Reddy R. Gali, Lakshmanan K. Iyer, Robert Lawson, James Berry, Anna M. Krichevsky, Merit E. Cudkowicz, Howard L. Weiner. Modulating inflammatory monocytes with a unique microRNA gene signature ameliorates murine ALS. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2012; DOI: 10.1172/JCI62636

Cite This Page:

Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Researchers discover blood biomarker for Lou Gehrig's disease, could lead to new treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120806130536.htm>.
Brigham and Women's Hospital. (2012, August 6). Researchers discover blood biomarker for Lou Gehrig's disease, could lead to new treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120806130536.htm
Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Researchers discover blood biomarker for Lou Gehrig's disease, could lead to new treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120806130536.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
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:

More Coverage


Identifying a New Target for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Treatment

Aug. 6, 2012 Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive disease wherein the cells of the central nervous system involved in movement and coordination are destroyed. Although the mechanism of ALS is not ... read more
from the past week

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