Researchers in Germany and Denmark reported Thursday in Nature that ciliary neurotrophic factor yielded dramatic improvement in animals displaying motor neuron degeneration similar to human diseases such as ALS.

Regeneron Inc. is conducting clinical saftely trials of CNTF in patients with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) in four U.S. medical centers.

Reporting on new experiments with CNTF and mice that have motor neuron degeneration, scientist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany and the University of Copenhagen said that "treatment with CNTF prolongs survival and dramatically improves motor function of these mice" and that CNTF "drastically reduces" all the functional changes in the mice.

The FDA in February designated CNTF as an orphan drug for treatment of ALS.

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.