Experimental Stroke Drug Brings New Hope for ALS

Protecting the blood-spinal cord barrier may delay motor neuron degeneration in ALS mice. A new study published on March 3 in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences from Berislav Zlokovic’s laboratory at University of Southern California reports that an activated protein C analog being developed to treat stroke patients appears to restore the integrity of the blood-spinal cord barrier, which disintegrates in ALS. When the drug was administered to mutant SOD1 mice, the mice retained blood-spinal cord barrier integrity and displayed delayed onset of motor neuron degeneration. The drug, called 3K3A-APC, is being developed by Zlokovic’s start-up company, zzBiotech. Although at this time the company’s focus is on stroke, these findings suggest that the therapeutic approach may hold promise for ALS patients too.

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