Healthcast: ALS research

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Discoveries at St. Jude Research Hospital could help als patients, and many others.

It’s a discovery Dr. Mondira Kundu said her team wasn’t even looking for.

“When we initally found the interactions we were pretty excited.”

Enzymes that could play a counteractive role in degenerative neurological diseases ike als, ibm, and frontotemporal dementia.

While conducting various tests for study, Dr. Kundu’s team discovered that two enzymes ulk1 and ulk2 can break down cell structures that kill muscle and brain cells.

The next thing is to see whether, in these types of models does stimulating ulk1 and ulk2 activity, increase the life span or start to treat the pathology,” Dr. Kundu said.

This discovery itself doesn’t mean a cure for als or other neurological diseases is imminent 

“It’s another step along the way,” Dr. Kundu said.

Doctor Kundu credits St. Jude’s donors and the fundraising team at alsac for making the breakthrough possible.

“And it’s important to remember that people at st. Jude study not just cancer but other catastrophic pediatric illnesses.”

The next step is more lab testing to see if boosting these enzymes with drugs can make a difference in treating muscle and brain disorders.

Doctor Kundu is hoping for even more incredible discoveries in years to come.

“What will be more excited is if we can translate this to patients because that’s ultimately the goal of our research.”

Doctor Kundu said there has been tremendous progress in understanding and possibly treating neurological diseases in the past 5 to 10-years.

Doctor Kundu is hopeful this discovery will someday lead to treatment for these serious diseases.
 

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