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As written on the ALS Association's Drug Development Update Web site, a wide assortment of clinical research trials were completed in the hopes of finding a cure for ALS.
Other than the research completed on Rilutek ©, research was completed on everything from dietary changes to hormones. An example of early research completed on hormones involves thyroid releasing hormone (TRH). In the beginning, TRH showed promising signs when given to ALS patients because they generally felt stronger, however these effects were only short-term, and were not sustainable.
Previous research has also been conducted on Insulin Growth Factor -1 (IGF-1). The other name for IGF-1 is Myotrophin. A clinical research trial completed in the United States showed IGF-1 was able to slow down disease progression, whereas a similar study in Europe did not yield the same results. A third research trial completed has led to the FDA granting “Treatment Investigational New Drug Status” to Myotrophin. This approval was granted in 1996, and means Myotrophin can be used as an investigational drug to help slow down ALS, but is not indicated by the FDA as treatment in the same class as the fully approved drug Rilutek ©.
The creators of a third drug called Xaliproden, which showed promise in clinical research trials in the European Union, withdrew their application for FDA approval. Two previous trials showed Xaliproden reduced disease progression, improved pulmonary function, and protected nerve cell membranes. However, the application for approval was withdrawn because the company felt more research had to be completed.