Justin Ichida screens potential therapies for Lou Gehrig’s disease

USC Stem Cell researcher Justin Ichida tests drug-like compounds on motor neurons formed by directly reprogramming skin cells from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Because these motor neurons have the same DNA as the individual ALS patients, they exhibit the disease’s signature degeneration, which causes progressive paralysis usually resulting in fatal respiratory failure within three to five years of diagnosis. The hope is that one of these compounds will keep the motor neurons alive in the petri dishes — and eventually in the patients.

Mentioned in this article: Justin Ichida, PhD