Researchers at Harvard University say they have found what could be a biomarker that could lead to a new treatment therapy for victims of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that affects nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain and causes severe muscle degeneration over time.
The Harvard team found that the protein TDP-43 — which has been known to be linked to ALS for the last decade — regulates the gene STMN2, which could serve as the first biomarker and potential source of treatment therapy.
“Once we had a connection between the TDP-43 and the loss of this other critical gene, STMN2, we could see how a motor neuron might begin to fail in ALS,” said researcher Joseph Klim.
There are about 33,000 Americans with ALS. Becky Kidd of Atlanta is one of them. In 2017 she talked to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention about what it’s like to live with ALS.