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Old drug may help treat motor neurone disease: study

Press Trust of India  |  London 

An already existing drug may help treat some cases of hereditary motor neurone (MND), a study has found.

is an incurable, progressive that attacks the nerves controlling movement so muscles no longer work, said researchers from the in the UK.

Inherited is a rare form of the (5-10 per cent of total cases) that runs in families.

Around 20 per cent of hereditary cases are caused by mutations in a gene which codes for a protein called SOD1.

When the SOD1 gene is mutated, the protein assembly process malfunctions and steps are missed out.

This makes the SOD1 protein structurally unstable leading to the formation of protein 'clumps' in the motor neurones, causing them to die.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, used state-of-the-art crystallography, mass-spectrometry and to search for a drug molecule which could 'correct' the SOD1 assembly line.

They found that ebselen, a drug which was discovered in the 1980s and has been investigated as a potential treatment for a variety of disorders, can effectively restore several important steps in the SOD1 assembly process including folding, dimerization and zinc binding.

This discovery has the potential to prevent the accumulation of SOD1 into the large aggregates we see within the motor neurons of effected individuals. If we can stop that, we might be able to stop the neurons dying," said from the

"The next step is to test ebselen in settings more accurately resembling human neuronal cells and optimising it so that it can become useful as a drug for motor neuron disease," said from the

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 14:30 IST