Veterinarians at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University are currently evaluating a new drug to treat dogs with degenerative myelopathy, a disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – in humans. The treatment involves using a virus to deliver gene silencing therapy to dogs harboring mutations in the SOD1 gene, which is implicated in the development of both degenerative myelopathy and ALS.
- Virginia Rentko, DVM
- Cheryl London, DVM
Three key benefits of the findings
- Dogs may represent a unique animal model to use for studying ALS, a disease with few treatment options.
- Degenerative myelopathy in dogs also has few treatment options. Therefore, a successful outcome to the trial may also benefit dogs.
- So far, the therapy appears to be well-tolerated by pet dogs, although it remains to be seen whether it will be effective.