In a major discovery, Russian scientists from the National Research University ‘Belgorod State University (BelSU) have shown the effectiveness of treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with a bioavailable derivative of vitamin B1.
Notably, this is the same disease that scientist Stephen Hawking was suffering from. Although the incidence of this disease is rare and only affects 2.5 percent of 1 lakh people, it is a fatal neurological disease that can be characterized by rapid degeneration.
According to the research, it has come to light that there are hereditary forms of the disease, especially when the descendants inherit the "broken" gene from their parents. Also, there is a non-hereditary form of the disease, where the risk is roughly 1 in 300 and increases with age (the most at-risk being men, military personnel, smokers, and handball players).
The research by the National Research University, "Belgorod State University" (BelSU) has shown that currently, the drugs that are given to treat ALS prolong patients' lives by only two to three months. Apart from this, the experts also conducted research operations on mice to find out more about the symptoms of the disease and the exact treatment. The proceedings of the research were published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy.
"We have found that the studied bioavailable vitamin B1 derivative (OS-Dibenzoyl Thiamine), which is a powerful antioxidant, showed efficacy against ALS in transgenic mice. The mice that received the treatment showed greater mobility, less weight loss, and less brain damage," Alexei Deikin, Associate Professor at the BelSU Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology and Director of the Joint Center for Genetic Technologies, told Sputnik.
During the research, it was also found that the application of the test substance caused the body to respond at the molecular level: the level of inflammatory signalling molecules (glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) and interleukin IL-1) in the spinal cord. A specific metabolome of the transgenic mice, which the experts believe will allow them to monitor the dynamics of the disease, was also revealed during a nuclear magnetic resonance imaging study. Notably, this research has opened the door for new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.