Imagine that you are slowly losing control of your muscles and are unable to move or speak. This is what happens in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
This terrible disease is currently incurable. The only treatments currently available are for symptom relief and relief. But now there may be a glimmer of hope for people suffering from ALS.
Testing a new treatment: ropinirole
Scientists from Japan have found that a drug called ropinirole, commonly used to treat Parkinson’s disease, could help delay the progression of ALS.
This could mean that people with ALS could have better control of their muscles over a longer period of time.
This discovery comes from a clinical trial that tested the drug on ALS patients to see if it was safe and could potentially help them.
How they conducted the tests
The research team, led by Hideyuki Okano from Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, worked with 20 patients with ALS.
They had a careful plan for the study: for the first 24 weeks, some patients were given ropinirole, while others were given a placebo (a pill that looks like the drug but has no effect).
All patients then received ropinirole for the next 24 weeks.
During the study, they observed the patients closely to see how their disease was developing.
For example, they examined how active the patients were, how much they could move on their own, how strong their muscles were and how well their lungs were functioning.
what they found
After all the testing, they found that the patients who were given ropinirole were more active and their disease was not progressing as quickly as the patients who were given the placebo.
They also found that the drug was safe to use in people with ALS.
However, the patients who started taking ropinirole halfway through the study did not show the same improvements.
This led scientists to believe that the treatment might work better if started early and given over a longer period of time.
More discoveries in the lab
In addition to the clinical study, the researchers also carried out some laboratory experiments. They took part of the patient’s blood and used it to create special cells called induced pluripotent stem cells.
These cells can become any type of cell in the body, and the researchers turned them into motor neurons, the type of cells affected in ALS.
When they compared these motor neurons to healthy ones, they found some big differences. But when they treated the ALS motor neurons with ropinirole, many of these differences diminished.
This suggested that ropinirole might help correct some of the problems caused by ALS.
While these results are promising, more research needs to be done. The scientists hope to do more studies and eventually find a way to predict which patients will respond best to ropinirole.
This could represent a major advance in the treatment of ALS and bring hope to those affected by this devastating disease.
If you are interested in Parkinson’s disease, please read studies about it Vitamin E, which may help prevent Parkinson’s diseaseAnd Vitamin D could benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.
For more information on brain health, see recent studies on new ways to treat Parkinson’s disease and the results showing that COVID-19 may be linked to Parkinson’s disease.
The study was published in cell stem cell.
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