ALS Research Discoveries Hold Promise; Drug Shortages Cause Scares | KCUR

ALS Research Discoveries Hold Promise; Drug Shortages Cause Scares

Jan 24, 2012

New insights about the development of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, can help explain what causes nerve- and muscle-cell failure in sufferers, and researchers hope the new knowledge will help design drugs to combat the disease.

ALS causes muscle cells that control movement to fail, including those cells that enable breathing. It primarily affects adults between the ages of 40 and 60, and most become paralyzed and die of respiratory failure within three years.

Today there are no treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and until now there was no explanation of how the disease specifically affects motor neurons and muscle cells.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, Michael Miller, Ph.D., associate professor of cell biology at UAB, discusses these recent findings. Beckie Cooper, the Executive Director of the regional Keith Worthington chapter of the ALS Association, talks about ALS-related factors.


On the second half of Tuesday's show, Steve Kraske talks with authors and pharmacists Marc Scheetz, PharmD, and Milena Griffith, PharmD, about how frequent shortages of key anti-infective drugs can put patients - and public health - at risk.