Molecular mechanisms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as broad therapeutic targets for gene therapy applications utilizing adeno-associated viral vectors.
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 10:45 authored by Jessica Merjane, Roger Chung, Rickie Patani, Leszek Lisowski
Despite the devastating clinical outcome of the neurodegenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), its etiology remains mysterious. Approximately 90% of ALS is characterized as sporadic, signifying that the patient has no family history of the disease. The development of an impactful disease modifying therapy across the ALS spectrum has remained out of grasp, largely due to the poorly understood mechanisms of disease onset and progression. Currently, ALS is invariably fatal and rapidly progressive. It is hypothesized that multiple factors can lead to the development of ALS, however, treatments are often focused on targeting specific familial forms of the disease (10% of total cases). There is a strong need to develop disease modifying treatments for ALS that can be effective across the full ALS spectrum of familial and sporadic cases. Although the onset of disease varies significantly between patients, there are general disease mechanisms and progressions that can be seen broadly across ALS patients. Therefore, this review explores the targeting of these widespread disease mechanisms as possible areas for therapeutic intervention to treat ALS broadly. In particular, this review will focus on targeting mechanisms of defective protein homeostasis and RNA processing, which are both increasingly recognized as design principles of ALS pathogenesis. Additionally, this review will explore the benefits of gene therapy as an approach to treating ALS, specifically focusing on the use of adeno-associated virus (AAV) as a vector for gene delivery to the CNS and recent advances in the field.