Home > Granted research > Publication in Nature Medicine opening potential new therapeutic strategy

Major results obtained with a project granted by Fondation Thierry Latran have just been published in Nature Medicine

The project presented by Pr Philip Van Damme, neurology department head by Pr Wim Robberecht, Leuven University, Vesalius research center, Belgium was selected during the 1st call for projects in 2009. Its aim was to perform a genetic screen of a zebrafish model for ALS to identify disease modifiers of ALS. It was found that EphA4 is such a modifier in patients and animal models. EphA4 is a receptor in the ephrin system, an axon repellent pathway. Genetic deletion and antagonists of the EphA4 receptor prolong survival and preserve motor neurons in animal models for ALS. In ALS patients, low expression of EphA4 is associated with later age of onset and longer survival. These findings suggest that an EphA4-mediated pathway is a modifier of motor axon degeneration and that the use of EphA4 antagonists is a potential therapeutic strategy in ALS

Access to the full text: