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New Treatment for Dogs with Spinal Cord Disease May Offer New Insight into Possible Cures for Humans with ALS

Veterinarians at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University are currently evaluating a new drug to treat dogs with degenerative myelopathy, a disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Veterinarians at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University are currently evaluating a new drug to treat dogs with degenerative myelopathy, a disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – in humans. The treatment involves using a virus to deliver gene silencing therapy to dogs harboring mutations in the SOD1 gene, which is implicated in the development of both degenerative myelopathy and ALS.

INVESTIGATORS

  • Virginia Rentko, DVM
  • Cheryl London, DVM

THREE KEY BENEFITS OF THE FINDINGS

  1. Dogs may represent a unique animal model to use for studying ALS, a disease with few treatment options.
  2. Degenerative myelopathy in dogs also has few treatment options. Therefore, a successful outcome to the trial may also benefit dogs.
  3. So far, the therapy appears to be well-tolerated by pet dogs, although it remains to be seen whether it will be effective.

LINKS

ALS Cures Being Tested on Suffering Dogs
A new experimental treatment of degenerative myelopathy in dogs