The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced some potentially good news recently regarding an experiment to see if lithium carbonate might slow the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Here is the press release from MDA:
An MDA-supported trial of lithium carbonate in ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) is now open at 10 medical centers across the United States.
Lithium is usually used to treat bipolar disorder. Earlier this year, a small study in Italy suggested it might slow the progression of ALS.
MDA’s clinical trial is an effort to confirm or refute the findings of a recent Italian trial conducted by Francesco Fornai at the University of Pisa (Italy) and colleagues at other Italian institutions. The Italian trial showed that lithium significantly delayed ALS progression compared to standard treatment alone.
The 12-month MDA-support trial will enroll 100 participants at 10 sites around the United States. Principal investigator is neurologist Robert Miller, director of the Forbes Norris MDA/ALS Research Center at California pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
The results from the Italian study were the most important and positive ever reported for ALS, “ Miller said. “ We really need to know that it’s real, and this study should give us that answer.