Because ceftriaxone only protects against glutamate damage, just one problem in ALS, it's not surprising that the mice eventually succumbed to weakness and paralysis despite treatment, he says.
"If we can find drugs that protect against other causes of nerve death in ALS, the combination might offer a real therapy, much like using drug combinations to treat cancer," says Rothstein. "The more we know about ALS and other neurological diseases, the better our chances of finding ways to prevent nerve death by all causes."
The research was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins. The ALS mice were provided by Project ALS.
Authors of the paper are Rothstein, Sarubhai Patel, Melissa Regan, Christine Haenggeli, Yanhua Huang, Dwight Bergles, Lin Jin, Margaret Dykes Hoberg, Svetlana Vidensky, Dorothy Chung and Shuy Vang Toan, all of Johns Hopkins; Lucie Bruijn of The ALS Association; and Zao-zhong Su, Pankaj Gupta and Paul Fisher of Columbia University Medical Center.