Emerging antisense oligonucleotide and viral therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Curr Opin Neurol. 2018 Oct;31(5):648-654. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000000594.


Purpose of review: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly fatal disease for which there is currently no effective therapy. The present review describes the current progress of existing molecular therapies in the clinical trial pipeline and highlights promising future antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) and viral therapeutic strategies for treating ALS.

Recent findings: The immense progress in the design of clinical trials and generation of ASO therapies directed towards superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) and chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) repeat expansion related disease have been propelled by fundamental work to identify the genetic underpinnings of familial ALS and develop relevant disease models. Preclinical studies have also identified promising targets for sporadic ALS (sALS). Moreover, encouraging results in adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based therapies for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) provide a roadmap for continued improvement in delivery and design of molecular therapies for ALS.

Summary: Advances in preclinical and clinical studies of ASO and viral directed approaches to neuromuscular disease, particularly ALS, indicate that these approaches have high specificity and are relatively well tolerated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Dependovirus
  • Humans
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / therapy
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / therapeutic use*


  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense