2013 has now come and gone. Lest the auld year be forgot, ALS Today turns back the clock - highlighting key advances in 2013 and key challenges going forward.
High-resolution ultrasound entered the ALS clinic, an emerging technique that aims to identify people with ALS with fewer EMGs. An ALS cognitive test, ECAS, was unveiled. A whole-brain imaging technique, MIDAS, emerged; opening the door to using MRS to monitor people with ALS. And, new insights into the spread of ALS may help physicians in the future to predict the course of their disease.
Potential therapies for ALS moved forward in the clinic. GlaxoSmithKline’s ozanezumab advanced to phase II across the globe. AB Science’s Masitinib neared phase III in Europe. And, potential stem cell treatments, Brainstorm’s NurOwn and Neuralstem’s NSI-266, reached phase II in Israel and the US.
New treatment strategies for ALS also emerged. In the US, Novartis’ Gilenya and the generic mexiletine moved into the ALS clinic. In China, the generic fasudil re-entered phase II. Misfolded SOD1-targeted antibodies including Neurimmune’s NI-204 entered the pipeline. And, GlaxoSmithKline’s potential ‘stress-buster’ GSK2606414 targeting PERK resurfaced.
Neurologists, however, remain divided on how to test these potential therapies in people with ALS. In the wake of the failure of Biogen-Idec/Knopp's dexpramipexole, a growing number of research teams launched phase IIA and larger phase IIB clinical trials to increase confidence in dose selection and phase II go/no go decisions. But others continue to evaluate these drugs in smaller phase II studies.
What's more, with the humanitarian device exemption looming large, neurologists remain at odds over recommending the NeuRX DPS and how best to evaluate its use.
Take a look back at 2013 by exploring our interactive timeline. Click on key advances to learn more.
Image Credits: Søren Storm Hansen, Flickr; Alice-Palace, Flickr; Judith Stoffer, National Institute of Genome and Medical Sciences; tnsasse, Flickr; Go, Dog,Go!, PD Eastman; Inside Star Wars Insider #133, Lucas Films LTD; Nature Publishing Group, UCDavis Biowiki and The Smithsonian Institution.