Lou Gehrig's And Dog Disease Genetic Link

 |  Jan 23rd 2009  |   2 Contributions


Here's a very interesting story, scientists have discovered a genetic link between ALS and a similar disease in dogs. The findings, which were published in the Proceedings Of TheNational Academy Of Sciences, could one day lead to therapies to help dogs and humans.

(HealthDay News) Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the central and peripheral nervous systems. It causes progressive muscle atrophy and weakness, resulting in paralysis and death. There is no cure. A similar disease in dogs is called degenerative myelopathy (DM).

A genetic mutation that causes ALS in humans is the same one that causes DM in dogs, according to researchers from the University of Missouri, in Columbia, Mo., and the Broad Institute, in Cambridge, Mass. This means that dogs can be used to help test treatments for ALS, according to a news release from the university.

Prior to this discovery research on ALS has been done mostly on rodents. Now with dogs, scientists will more likely have a more reliable model.

"Compared with the rodent model for ALS, dogs with DM are more similar to people in size, structure and complexity of their nervous systems, and duration of the disease," Gary Johnson, associate professor of veterinary pathobiology at Missouri, said in the news release. "The results from clinical trials conducted with DM-affected dogs may better predict the efficacies of therapeutic interventions for treating ALS in humans."

This sounds very promising, we will definitely be on the lookout for any follow up stories to keep you updated.

* The pic above is Jack Flash, he passed from DM and his owner now has a support group to help others.

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