Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It causes muscle weakness and loss of muscle control leading to eventual immobility and death. Some 450,000 people are affected by ALS worldwide, three out of every 10,000 inhabitants in Europe, and mean survival time is three to five years from diagnosis.
Scientific evidence shows the relationship between risk factors associated with lifestyle related to metabolism and ALS. Obesity is associated with a lower risk of developing ALS and confers a survival advantage on patients with the disease because of its direct impact on metabolism.
Though the causes of this disease are unknown, neuroinflammation is one of the pathogenic mechanisms that contribute to its appearance and progression. So far, anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to be ineffective in treating symptoms and slowing down its progress.
Numerous scientific teams the world over are seeking solutions to treat the disease and perhaps overcome it in the near future. What therapeutic perspectives do we currently have to treat ALS? What approaches to possible treatments are being investigated?
Carmen M. Fernández-Martos, principal investigator at the Neurometabolism Research Group, National Hospital for Paraplegics (HNP), Toledo.
Rubèn López Vales, professor of the Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology, and researcher at the Institute of Neurosciences of the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Jorge Alcalde, journalist and science communicator, director of Esquire magazine.
The researchers have received grants from the ”la Caixa” Foundation and the Luzón Foundation to investigate on ALS through the CaixaResearch health call. With the following projects: