Dr. Benjamin Murdock was awarded this U.S. DOD grant to examine using the drug tofacitinib to affect the immune system's impact on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The ultimate goal is to determine if tofacitinib can effectively slow ALS progression in humans.
Previously, 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. This grant will allow Dr. Murdock to use tofacitinib in preclinical models, as well as take NK cells from ALS subjects and treat NK cells in vitro to test the efficacy of the drug. Lastly, work funded by this grant will look at the specific mechanisms by which NK cells may be killing motor neurons and seeing which of these mechanisms are affected by tofacitinib.