ALS begins locally and then spreads throughout the body.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute have made a discovery.
And that is how ALS spreads throughout the body, from cell to cell. The study suggests a way for the spread of ALS to be blocked.
The study was led by Dr. Neil Cashman. He says that by scientists understanding how ALS spreads throughout the body, that a method can be devised to stop this progression.
What did the researchers uncover? The misfolded, non-mutant SOD1 is transmitted from one region to the next in the patient’s nervous system. This would explain the progressive nature of this fatal motor neuron disease.
Another revelation from the study is that the progression can be halted with antibodies.
In the investigation, antibodies were created to bind to regions of SOD1 that were exposed when it became misfolded.
However, there is no confirmation that ALS is caused by the non-mutant SOD1 misfolding.
But this particular cause is a suspect, and if it indeed is the cause, the researchers say that the antibodies could stop the spread of ALS in the body.
What is SOD1? It’s a protein. Previous research has shown that a mutant SOD1 is associated with the neurodegenerative disease. The mutant version causes the shape of other proteins to misfold. These misfolded proteins build up, and it is this accumulation that is highly suspect in the progressive degeneration of the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain seen in patients with ALS.