A potential treatment is approaching the ALS clinic for muscle cramps – a key source of pain early in the disease. The strategy, which includes in part, capsaicin, aims to reduce cramps and muscle spasticity by opening up TRP ion channels in key sensory neurons located in the gastrointestinal tract. The approach, introduced by Harvard University’s Roderick MacKinnon, is one of two that is being evaluated in the clinic that aims to reduce muscle cramps and spasms in ALS by lowering motor neuron hyperexcitability (see March 2016 news). The strategy is being developed by Flex Pharma in Massachusetts. The clinical trial, which is to be led by Mayo Clinic’s Bjorn Oskarsson in Florida, is expected to launch in the United States this summer.
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