Understanding ALS: new therapeutic approaches

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Abstract

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease associated with motor neuron degeneration, muscle atrophy and paralysis. Although numerous pathological mechanisms have been elucidated, ALS remains an invariably fatal disease in the absence of any effective therapy. The heterogeneity of the disease and the failure to develop satisfactory therapeutic protocols reinforce the view that ALS is a multi-factorial and multi-systemic disease. Thus, a better understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms and study of the potential pathological relationship between the various cellular processes is required to ensure efficacious therapy. The pathogenic mechanisms associated with ALS are reviewed, and the strengths and limitations of some new therapeutic approaches are discussed.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a multi-factorial and multi-systemic disease in which alterations in structural, physiological and metabolic parameters in motor neurons, glia, and muscle act synergistically to propagate and exacerbate the disease.

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