A drug typically used to treat enlarged prostates and high blood pressure has shown promise as a potential new therapy for motor neuron disease (MND) — also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — according to a new study.
MND is a group of rare diseases that destroy nerve cells known as motor neurons, causing patients to slowly lose function of their muscles.
In studies using zebrafish, mice and stem cell models, experts have demonstrated that the drug terazosin protects against the death of motor neurons by increasing their energy production.
Researchers say the drug could help to slow the progression of a disease that affects around 5,000 adults in the UK. The average life expectancy is three years from the onset of symptoms.
The team are starting a feasibility study into the drug’s effect in MND patients. If this proves successful, they will look to launch a full clinical trial.
It is still unclear why motor neurons die, but experts know that a decrease in their energy production takes place at an early stage of the disease.
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