Breakthrough TAU Discovery Key to Reversing ALS

Written on | ,

Findings may lead to ways to delay, or even roll back, the course of the fatal disease in its early stages.

A Tel Aviv University-led research team has uncovered a core mechanism that causes ALS and has succeeded in reversing its effects. While the root cause of ALS remains unknown, the discovery reveals the basic biological mechanism that leads to nerve destruction in the early stages of the incurable disease that afflicts an estimated one out of every 400 people. 

To date, there is no effective treatment to prevent or halt disease progression. The average life expectancy of ALS patients is approximately three years from diagnosis. “This discovery can lead to the development of new therapies that could enable nerve cells to heal before irreversible damage occurs in the spinal cord,” said lead investigator Prof. Eran Perlson of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Sagol School of Neuroscience at TAU. 

New Tool for Combating the Disease 

The team discovered that an abnormal buildup of a protein called TDP-43 in neuromuscular junctions, which translate brain signals into physical movements, leads to the degeneration and death of nerve cells (motor neurons). They found that this hinders the activity of mitochondria, which are critical for cells to function.  

The researchers found that this process occurs during the early stages of ALS, initiating damage to motor neurons before patients develop serious symptoms. Eventually, the deterioration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord causes ALS patients to gradually lose voluntary muscle ability, leading to complete paralysis including the inability to breathe independently. 

Reversing the Domino Effect  

Using an experimental molecule (originally developed to enhance neural regeneration after injury), the team demonstrated its success in dismantling the toxic protein buildup found in ALS patients. Additionally, in lab models, the researchers showed that this approach actives the process of nerve regeneration, leading to almost complete rehabilitation from the disease. 

Together with Dr. Amir Dori, director of the clinic for neuro-muscular diseases at Sheba Medical Center, and scientists from the US, UK, Germany and France, Perlson and doctoral students Topaz Altman and Ariel Ionescu conducted the study through a series of experiments. The findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communication.

Featured image: Prof. Eran Perlson

Related posts

As Pandemic Persists, TAU Forges Ahead with COVID-19 Research on All Fronts

December 30, 2021

Rising Temperatures Fuel Increase in Violence: TAU Study

December 26, 2021

Medicinal Cannabis Oil Effective for Treating Autism

December 22, 2021

Parent Smartphone Use Could Harm Child Development

December 19, 2021

Experimental Drug Displays Effectiveness in Treating Symptoms of Autism and Alzheimer’s Disease

December 15, 2021

Seaweed – A Promising Defense Against Covid-19

December 15, 2021

New Ethical Code for World Research of Ancient DNA

December 14, 2021

Saving Lives with Artificial Intelligence

December 9, 2021

TAU Experts on Omicron: “Don’t Panic”

December 7, 2021

Tired of The Lies?

November 23, 2021

Britain and Israel Team Up on Challenge of Healthy Ageing

November 10, 2021

TAU Researchers Identify COVID Proteins that Cause Strokes and Heart Attacks

November 8, 2021

Can’t Multitask Anymore?

October 6, 2021

Why Do We Squabble Over The AC?

October 5, 2021

The Immune System’s Double Agents

October 5, 2021

Help A Friend Out?

September 30, 2021

Using ‘Good’ Bacteria to Fight ‘Bad’ Bacteria

September 29, 2021

Recruiting ‘Fighting Cells’ to Destroy Tumors

September 14, 2021

TAU Team Reverses Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

September 10, 2021

Nicotine Testing of Children Curbs Parents’ Smoking

September 5, 2021

Want to Fall in Love? Step Outside in The Sun

August 31, 2021

The Silent Prophets

August 31, 2021

First 3D-bioprinting of entire active tumor

August 18, 2021

New Warning Sign for Breast Cancer

August 6, 2021

COVID-19 Immunity Varies Among Genders and Age Groups

July 26, 2021

Tel Aviv Bats Have More Fun

July 22, 2021

New study found differences between women and men in the level of COVID-19 antibodies

July 15, 2021

A world first: Technology that restores the sense of touch in nerves damaged as a result of amputation or injury

July 15, 2021

TAU Medical Student to Swim for Israel at Summer Olympics

July 15, 2021

New nanotech from TAU produces “healthy” electric current from the human body itself

July 9, 2021

Introducing the world’s thinnest technology – only two atoms thick

July 2, 2021

Want to Live a Long Life? Consider Investing in Your Marriage.

July 2, 2021

A world first: Targeted delivery of therapeutic RNAs only to cancer cells, with no harm caused to healthy cells

June 30, 2021

Combating Antibiotic Resistance

June 22, 2021

Diamonds in the Rough

June 3, 2021

How Will We Brave the Post-COVID Era?

May 31, 2021

Are We Getting to the Root of Cancer?

May 3, 2021

Optical Technology Generates Immediate Melanoma Diagnosis

April 27, 2021

Gut Healing

April 25, 2021

Could Your Smartphone Be Damaging Your Teeth?

April 4, 2021

The Quest for A Lifesaving Cure

March 16, 2021

A Healthier Alternative to Antibiotics

February 24, 2021

Children with Autism during Lockdown: Serious Implications for Behavior and Development

February 22, 2021

Cancer Breakthrough: Cells’ Uniqueness is Also Weakness

January 29, 2021

Two TAU Professors Win 2020 Nature Mentoring Award

December 28, 2020

COVID-19 Takes TAU’s Legal Clinics into High Gear

December 7, 2020

Lack of Teacher Support during Pandemic Causes Acute Emotional Harm

December 4, 2020

New Discovery: Development of the Inner Ear in Embryos is Similar to Crystal Formation

November 26, 2020

In First, Aging Stopped in Humans: TAU Co-Study

November 23, 2020

TAU developed genome editing system destroys cancer cells

November 20, 2020

Pursuing the Unknown

Copyright ©  Tel Aviv University Trust. All rights reserved.
Registered charity number 314179.