Butyrates have plausible mechanisms for slowing ALS progression and positive pre-clinical studies. One trial suggests that sodium phenylbutyrate (NaPB) in combination with Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) can slow ALS progression and prolong survival, but the specific contribution of NaPB toward this effect is unclear. Butyrates appear reasonably safe for use in humans. Based on the above information, we support a trial of a butyrate in PALS, but we cannot yet recommend one as a treatment.
Pre-clinical models (animal or cell models recognized by ALSUntangled reviewers to be relevant to ALS)
Grade A: Two or more peer-reviewed publications reporting benefits in well-designed studies.
Animal studies are assumed to be ‘well designed’ when they follow published guidelines. When they deviate from these they are considered ‘flawed’.
Copper dysregulation may play a role in ALS progression, particularly for the form caused by SOD1 mutations. Given the complexity of this problem, simple copper supplements are unlikely to be useful to PALS with normal serum copper levels. We do not recommend using these. CuATSM, on the other hand, has more promising potential mechanisms of action, and several positive pre-clinical studies in mutant SOD1 ALS models. There are even a small number of PALS reporting benefits from it, though in our opinion the described benefits are thus far of uncertain clinical significance. At this time, the safety of repeated doses of CuATSM is unknown, as is the optimum daily dose, and it appears to be very expensive. Until trials clarify dosing and safety, as well as effectiveness in patients with and without SOD1 mutations, we do not recommend using CuATSM for ALS.
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The ALSUntangled program is off to a good start, with a number of specific requests from PALS being investigated by a multi-national group of ALSclinician-scientists. PALS and other clinician-scientists who want to become involved in ALSUntangledcan find instructions online (16)