Researchers in Germany and Denmark reported Thursday inNature that ciliary neurotrophic factor yielded dramaticimprovement in animals displaying motor neuron degenerationsimilar to human diseases such as ALS.

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

Reporting on new experiments with CNTF and mice that havemotor neuron degeneration, scientist at the Max PlanckInstitute in Germany and the University of Copenhagen saidthat "treatment with CNTF prolongs survival and dramaticallyimproves 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 fortreatment of ALS.

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