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Update on ALS research

Update on ALS research

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Update on ALS research

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  1. Update on ALS research Prof. Ole-Bjørn Tysnes Dept of Neurology Haukeland University Hospital

  2. What is ALS? • Clinical characteristics • Pathological findings • Genetics in ALS

  3. Clinical characteristics • May start with symptoms like speech or swallowing difficulties (bulbar ALS) • Most frequently start as progressive weakness in a limb (classic ALS) • Fasciculations frequently apparent • Slightly more frequent in men than women • Annual incidence 2/100.000 per year

  4. EMG essential to ensure the diagnosis • Important differential diagnoses must always be considered • Cervical radiculomyelopathy • Post polio syndrome • Motor neuropathies • Conditions with gammopathies • Diabetic amyotrophy • Myasthenia gravis

  5. ALS is a serious and gradually progressive disease • Survival time may however vary considerably • Involve all muscles of the body with time • Eye muscles are only affected very late • Mental symptoms may occur during the course of the disease

  6. Pathological characteristics • Loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord • Diffuse sclerosis of the spinal cord

  7. Genetics in ALS • Most ALS cases (more than 90%) are sporadic • If inherited (less than 10%) almost all cases are autosominal dominant (present in every generation) • 20% of the inherited cases are related to mutations in SOD (superoxide dismutase) • Mutations other than SOD are very rare in ALS

  8. On this background: Where do we stand in ALS research? • Epidemiologic research • Genetic research • Disease modifying treatment in ALS • In ALS models • In patients (treatment trials) • Stem cells • ALS management

  9. Update on epidemiologic research • Increase in ALS? • Environmental factors? • Increased risk in Gulf war veterans and professional football players? • Mental symptoms in ALS?

  10. Increase in incidence of ALS? Seljeseth et al 2000

  11. Traynor el al 2007 Stable incidence in Ireland during the last 7 years Annual incidence 2.5/100.000/Y ALS slightly more frequent in men than women Decrease in ALS incidence in the oldest age groups

  12. Environmental risk factors in ALS? OB Tysnes, ACNR, 2004

  13. Chio et al, Brain, 2005: Severely increased risk of ALS among Italian professional football players

  14. Wicks et al, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, 2007: Three soccer playing friends with simultaneous amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  15. Armon 2007, J Neurol Sci Most likely not increased risk of ALS in football players

  16. Mental tests that are independent of motor perfomance Conclusion: 50% of ALS patients have significant but small mental deficits 15% of ALS patients fullfil criteria of Frontotemporal dementia

  17. Update on genetic research • Mutations related to ALS • Diversity in the impact of SOD mutations • Genetic variants with ALS and dementia

  18. Strange et al, PNAS, 2007 More than 100 mutations in SOD1 can cause ALS Loss of Zn molecules in SOD destabilises the molecule This will with time lead to aggregation of SOD1 molecules Such aggregation may preceede neuronal death

  19. Peter Andersen (Umeå): Different SOD mutations give variable phenotype in ALS Age of onset vary considerable within the same mutation Disease duration short in som familial ALS and long in others

  20. Are ALS and Frontotemporal dementia linked? Norwegian ALS/FTD family ALS Bulb. ALS Spinal ALS Spinal ALS FTD

  21. Spina et al, Neurology 2007 FTD and ALS may be linked to mutations in progranuline, but other genetic causes are likely to occur

  22. Update on disease modifying treatment • In ALS animal models • By the use of drugs • By genetic modelling • In patients (treatment trials) • Oral drugs • Infusion therapies

  23. Jung et al, Neurosci Lett, 2001 Antioxidant therapy (EUK-8 and EUK-134) increase survival in SOD mice.

  24. Pompl et al, FASEB journal 2003: Cox2 inhibition delays progression of disease in SOD Mice

  25. Ermilova et al, Neurosci lett 2005 Effects of Zn in the diet on survival of SOD transgenic mice.

  26. Marden et al, J Clin Invest, 2007 Genetic treatment of SOD mice by inhibition of NAPDH oxidases Nox 1 and Nox 2 (knock outs) Problem: Lethal eye infection in cases of the NOX 2 knock outs

  27. Use of stem cells: Charlatans or any evidence of effect? • ALS animal models • Humans: Latest news from EFNS

  28. Suzuki et al, PNOS1 2007: Implanted GDNF secreting human progenitor cells make motor neurons survive, but do not prolong survival in SOD mice Motor neuron survival

  29. Suzuki et al 2007 Survival

  30. Habisch et al, J Neural Trans, 2007 Injection of neural stem cells in the cisterna magna did not prolong survival of SOD mice Question from the authors: Too few cells transplanted?

  31. Miller et al, Neurology, 2007 No effect of antiapoptotic treatment (TCH346) in ALS

  32. Giordano et al, Cell Physiol, 2007 No effect of any stem cell therapy to day Several serious adverse events, even lethal. Most frequent are infections and allergic reactions

  33. EFNS August 2007 - The price for intrathecal stem cell therapy is $ 50.000 and its currently given in Russia and China - They claim 6 months increased survival - No data on efficacy has been provided Conclusion: - Current clinical stem cell treatment in ALS is run by charlatans

  34. ALS management Neppelberg et al, Eur J Neurol, 2007 Radiotherapy significantly reduces sialorrhea in ALS

  35. Neppelberg et al, Eur J Neurol, 2007 Patient are satisfied with the effect of radiotherapy on sialorrhea.

  36. Is training bad for ALS patients? Liebetanz et al, J Neurol Sci, 2004: No differences in strength evolotion or survival in SOD mice between sedentary, control and actively trained mice. A tendency that the trained group survived longer

  37. Bello-Haas et al, Neurology, 2007 ALS patients in careful training had better ALS Functional Rating Score at the end of the study

  38. Conclusions • Very much ALS research is performed • No breakthrough has been done on treatment • Extensive research on basic pathology in ALS may open up new possibilities • Clinical research on ALS management give better possibilities of dealing with problems that occur during the course of the disease