International ALS gene search begins

May 16, 2006

U.S. scientists are leading the first international gene search for typical ALS -- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Although it's the more common form of the disease, sporadic ALS -- affecting about 90 percent of those living with the fatal neurodegenerative illness -- has been the one less studied, simply because, unlike familial ALS, no genes have been determined involved.

This week, however Dr. Bryan Traynor and John Hardy of the Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins University are beginning the first in-depth screening for genes that underlie the "spontaneous" illness, which, as all ALS, destroys the motor neurons that enable movement, including breathing. Half of the study focuses on Italian populations.

"In the forest of exciting research that's going on in ALS," said Packard Director Jeffrey Rothstein, "this is a tall tree. We've been waiting some time for this one."

Traynor said the work will clarify the role of genes in sporadic ALS. He added: "We don't know, for example, if (sporadic) ALS is triggered by a handful of interacting genes or genes plus environment or environment alone. The study aims to clarify that."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: MERS virus doesn't seem to spread easily, study finds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mechanical forces in development

Dec 13, 2013

(Phys.org) —Early embryonic development is a marvel of mechanics. Its signature step is the production of three tissue layers—mesoderm, ectoderm, and endoderm—through a topological maneuver known as ...

Clinton warns of bioweapon threat from gene tech

Dec 07, 2011

(AP) -- New gene assembly technology that offers great benefits for scientific research could also be used by terrorists to create biological weapons, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned ...

Scientists reveal key barrier to reprogramming human zygotes

Oct 06, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- New research from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists pinpoints a biological barrier that has thus far slowed progress in creating disease-specific stem cell lines using a technique known ...

Recommended for you

Girls in Colombian town struck by mystery illness

15 minutes ago

A mystery illness has overwhelmed a small town in northern Colombia as scores of teenage girls have been hospitalized with symptoms that parents fear could be an adverse reaction to a popular vaccine against cervical cancer.

Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

25 minutes ago

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter's call for comment, the group's ubiquitous "ice bucket challenge" had brought in a few million more dollars.

Uruguay begins registering marijuana growers

45 minutes ago

Just a handful of people had registered by midday Wednesday to be private growers of marijuana in Uruguay, the first country to fully legalize the production, sale and distribution of the drug.

Better classification to improve treatments for breast cancer

5 hours ago

Breast cancer can be classified into ten different subtypes, and scientists have developed a tool to identify which is which. The research, published in the journal Genome Biology, could improve treatments and targeting of tre ...

Oral contraceptive equal to antibiotics for acne care

7 hours ago

(HealthDay)—At six months, oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) are comparable to systemic antibiotics for acne management, according to a review published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Ac ...

User comments : 0