Researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University discovered a copper compound to form the basis for a therapy for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a debilitating and terminal disease. It was first identified as a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease in the late 1800s and gained international recognition in 1939 when it was diagnosed in American baseball legend Lou Gehrig. It’s known to be caused by motor neurons in the spinal cord deteriorating and dying, and has been traced to mutations in copper, zinc superoxide dismutase, or SOD1. Superoxide dismutase is an antioxidant whose proper function is essential to life.
When SOD1 is lacking metal co-factors, it becomes toxic, leading to the death of motor neurons. The metals, copper and zinc, are very important in stabilizing this protein.
ALS is primarily happening in the spinal cord, which is one of the most difficult places in the body to absorb copper. Copper itself is necessary but can be toxic, so its levels are strictly controlled in the body. In humans, no therapy for this disease has ever been discovered that could extend lifespan more than a few additional months because it is very difficult to deliver copper selectively into the cells in the spinal cord that actually need it.
In a new study published this month in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from Oregon State University showed in laboratory animal tests that oral intake of the copper compound significantly extended the lifespan and improved the locomotor function of transgenic mice that are genetically engineered to develop Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The compound restored a proper balance of copper into the brain and spinal cord. It is stabilizing the superoxide dismutase in a mature form, which improved the function of mitochondria. The novel treatment extended the lifespan of affected mice by 26%, and is expected to achieve even more extension.
This research has been funded by multiple institutes, including:
- The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council
- The U.S. National Institutes of Health
- Linus Pauling Institute
- Other groups in Australia and Finland
OSU: Growth in Research Funding Spurs Research and Business Partnership
- OSU’ s technology licensing nearly tripled what it earned five years ago during 2013.
- Oregon State research grants and contracts totaled almost $263 million last year.
- OSU received a record $7.7 million in licensing and royalty income.
- Private sector support reached nearly $36 million, a 65 percent increase over the past five years.
- Competitive funds from federal agencies comprised 58 percent of OSU research funding.
- State and local funding grew to nearly $8 million, a nearly 50 percent increase over FY 2012.
Create a Connection with OSU for Laboratory Supply Companies
Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. is organizing the 9th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at Oregon State University on September 10th 2014 to help laboratory supply companies connect with academic researchers in Oregon.
Laboratory supply companies are invited to the OSU BioResearch Product Faire™ Event on September 10th 2014:
- Demonstrate their products and services
- Deliver the newest product samples and lectures
- Enjoy a delicious catered lunch with academic researchers and make friends
Last year, the BioResearch Product Faire™ event at Oregon State University attracted 158 attendees. Of these attendees:
- 27% were purchasing agents, professors and post docs.
- 14% were lab managers.
- All were active research hands
- These attendees came from 23 different research buildings and 27 on-campus departments.
If you are a laboratory supply company interested in exhibiting in the BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at Oregon State University on September 10th 2014, please click the button below:
There are more events available at different institutions across the nation, please read the National Show Schedule for 2014.