McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
affiliated faculty member Robert Bowser, PhD (pictured), professor of neurology at Barrow Neurological Institute and St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona, is the co-author of a paper describing the use of global metabolomics to identify biochemical changes underlying ALS. The research was carried out as a collaborative effort by Dr. Bowser along with scientists in the laboratory of Merit Cudkowicz, MD, MSc, Massachusetts General Hospital, and at Metabolon, Inc. Metabolon, Inc. is a diagnostics and services company offering the industry’s leading biochemical profiling technology. The Northeastern ALS consortium (NEALS) provided samples for the study.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a devastating and fatal neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor neuron loss which results in progressive muscle wasting and weakness. A firm understanding of the cause of ALS remains elusive. Currently, diagnostic tests and reliable biomarkers of disease onset or progression are unavailable.
The objective of the study was to identify metabolic pathways affected by ALS which could become the basis for the identification of diagnostic biomarkers and targets for drug development. Using global metabolic profiling, metabolic signatures of ALS were observed in biochemical pathways previously associated with proposed disease mechanisms in ALS as well as in biochemical pathways suggestive of hepatic involvement. The reported results provide insight into the pathophysiology of ALS and suggest promising areas of focus for future studies.
“The ALS disease mechanisms identified in this work have the potential to lead to novel diagnostic biomarkers as well as for the development of biochemical targets for ALS therapies,” stated James Berry, MD, the corresponding author of the report.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Metabolon News Release (12/13/11)
Bio: Dr. Robert Bowser
Abstract (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. 2011 Nov 25.)