miRagen Announces Discovery of Key microRNA Implicated in Lou Gehrig’s Disease
News Dec 11, 2009
miRagen Therapeutics, Inc. has announced the publication of data demonstrating that microRNA-206 (miR-206) plays a crucial role in the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and in neuromuscular synaptic regeneration in mice.
The findings, published in the December 11 issue of the journal Science, reveal miR-206 as a potential target for the development of therapeutic agents for the treatment of neuromuscular disease.
The study was conducted by researchers led by Eric N. Olson, Ph.D., at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. miRagen is the exclusive licensee of intellectual property (IP) rights related to this discovery, which are part of the Company’s extensive estate of enabled microRNA IP.
“This is a breakthrough with significant implications for human health,” said William S. Marshall, Ph.D., President and CEO of miRagen Therapeutics, Inc. “Currently there are no therapies available to ALS patients that will reverse or delay the onset of muscle atrophy associated with this debilitating disease. Uncovering the essential role of miR-206 in neuromuscular maintenance brings us one step closer to the day when physicians will be able to offer hope to those suffering from ALS and other neuromuscular diseases.”
“We are, quite frankly, excited by these findings,” said Dr. Olson, Chairman and Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and miRagen’s Chief Scientific Advisor. “One of the hallmarks of ALS and other similarly degenerative muscle diseases is the inability of the neuromuscular synapse to transmit the impulse that leads to muscle contraction. Our data show that miR-206 plays a central regulatory role in this process. We view this as an extremely promising target for therapeutic intervention.”