New research conducted by scientists from the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), part of the University of Sheffield, into a new drug candidate that can possibly delay the onset of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) has shown early positive results.
The drug candidate was discovered by the UK-based artificial intelligence company BenevolentAI.
The study was led by SITraN researchers Dr Richard Mead and Dr Laura Ferraiuolo and assessed the efficacy of a drug candidate proposed by BenevolentAI's artificial intelligence technology for MND.
Also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), MND is a progressive neurodegenerative disease resulting in muscle weakness, paralysis, and eventually, respiratory failure.
Following diagnosis, life expectancy of a patient suffering from the disease is two to five years.
The research revealed significant and reproducible indications showing that the drug candidate helps prevent the death of motor neurones in patient cell models, and delays the onset of the disease in the gold standard model of ALS.
BenevolentAI founder and chairman Ken Mulvany said: “We understand from SITraN their research demonstrates that the hypothesis and drug candidate that our technology identified has delayed the onset of cell death in the gold standard model of ALS.
“We are incredibly encouraged by these findings. We very much look forward to the results of SITraN's further studies and are hopeful for the positive impact that this drug could have for people living with ALS.”
There are currently only two US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs available to patients affected with ALS.
The two drugs are Riluzole, which was approved in 1995, and Edaravone, approved only a few weeks ago.
The scientists from SITraN are moving into the next phase of their research, thereby advancing the existing study and evaluating the suitability and potential for clinical development.
Image: Motor Neurone. Photo: courtesy of The University of Sheffield.