NDR congratulates Dr. Chandler Walker, Associate Professor in the department of Biomedical Sciences and Comprehensive Care, Indiana University School of Dentistry, on the acceptance of his paper reporting the effects of CTMP-KO on denervation-induced muscle atrophy in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. NDR partnered with Dr. Walker by supporting his research on a method to restore function to atrophied muscles. He found repairing a dysregulated inflammation and metabolic pathway, AKT-mTOR, via a specific protein called carboxy terminator modulator protein (CTMP) could restore function to muscles in which the nerve to the muscle was severed.
The science is relevant to ALS because Dr. Walker found CTMP was highly expressed in diseased SOD1G93A mouse muscles. In earlier work, he linked inhibition of CTMP to reversible muscle atrophy in the ALS mouse model. The relevance of Dr. Chandlers work to ALS patients is in early disease where neurons could be treated. This line of work is in the discovery phase and it will be years before a treatment is available, however it is groundbreaking work like this that gives hope to identifying mechanisms that define where treatment intervention could be designed to restore motor neuron function to muscles and slow the progress of ALS.
Dr. Walker collaborates with Dr. Steve Pelech, Kinexus Bioinformatics Corp, designing and testing potential antisense oligonucleotides that could impact cell signaling systems in his CTMP work and ultimately be developed for treating the dysfunctional AKT-mTOR pathway. The NDR supported microarray developed by Kinexus was used by Dr. Walker in his secretome project, another avenue of his research that is closer to bringing a treatment to ALS patients. Secretome is a cell free mixture of potentially useful stem cell secretions that Dr. Walker developed. His work is in the IND phase and he is seeking industry support for the Phase I trial.
The Kinexus-Walker collaboration is a great example of breaking down silos and sharing information that results in new science. If you would like to support either of Dr. Walkers projects you may contribute via the donate button found at ndrinc.org or nomoreals.com. One hundred percent of the funds will go to his laboratory.