The Chicago Tribune just published an article about a group at Northwestern studying ALS. The brilliant scientist shown below has lead a group in finding a possible cause of ALS (discussed earlier on this blog here)! It’s been known for a while that, in patients with this disease, nerve cells have a problem with getting rid of proteins that are damaged or are made incorrectly. Dr. Siddique found that, at least in a subset of patients who have the hereditary version of the disease, the protein ubiquilin 2 is not able to perform its function of getting rid of these proteins. This basically leads to a hoarding situation for the cell where “trash” piles up to such an extent within the cell that it can no longer function. This is an exciting breakthrough and will hopefully help scientists to discover a cure for ALS.
The original research article was published in Nature and can be found here.