Two patients with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and mutations in the gene encoding superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) were treated with a single intrathecal infusion of adeno-associated virus encoding a microRNA targeting SOD1. In Patient 1, SOD1 levels in spinal cord tissue as analyzed on autopsy were lower than corresponding levels in untreated patients with SOD1-mediated ALS and in healthy controls. Levels of SOD1 in cerebrospinal fluid were transiently and only slightly lower in Patient 1 but were not affected in Patient 2. In Patient 1, meningoradiculitis developed after the infusion; Patient 2 was pretreated with immunosuppressive drugs and did not have this complication. Patient 1 had transient improvement in the strength of his right leg, a measure that had been relatively stable throughout his disease course, but there was no change in his vital capacity. Patient 2 had stable scores on a composite measure of ALS function and a stable vital capacity during a 12-month period. This study showed that intrathecal microRNA can be used as a potential treatment for SOD1-mediated ALS.
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