One Protein in All Three Forms
New research has revealed the presence of the same mutation in sporadic, hereditary and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the version that attacks the brain. The protein that normally recycles proteins in neurons of the brain and spinal cord which keep the cells healthy is mutated so it cannot degrade the damaged neuronal proteins which are recycled and used to synthesize new, functional proteins. These abnormal proteins accumulate and damage the neurons in this debilitating and fatal neurodegenerative disease. Researchers are very excited about this discovery which gives them an opportunity to develop drugs that target this pathway in ALS patients and may provide insight into other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.