ALS Association - Identifying NK Cells as Therapeutic Targets in ALS

Identifying NK Cells as Therapeutic Targets in ALS

Dr. Benjamin Murdock was awarded this grant by the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association (20-IIA-431) to study the involvement of the immune system in ALS. The primary goal is to identify specific windows of disease when drug treatment will be the most effective, as well as to show direct evidence that NK cells directly kill motor neurons in ALS. Success of the study will allow us to transition immediately to pre-clinical and clinical trials with drug therapies. Dr. Murdock discovered that a subset of immune cells, called natural killer (NK) cells, are higher than normal in ALS patients and attack motor neurons. The grant will investigate the change in NK cell levels in ALS patients compared to healthy individuals over time. Since it is possible to block the activity of NK cells with drugs, this grant could lead to a new treatment approach in ALS.