ALS, Author Interviews, Neurology / 21.08.2018 Interview with: Pier Lorenzo Puri, M.D PhD Professor in the Development, Aging and Regeneration Program Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: My lab has been studying special repair cells called fibro-adipogenic progenitors (FAPs) and how these cells change in models of motor neuron diseases. These cells usually repair muscles after acute injury. But we are finding the FAPs change dramatically in disease settings. In this study we looked at these cells in models of spinal cord injury, ALS and spinal muscular atrophy, including muscle tissue from ALS patients. We found that FAPs change radically in several ways. Most importantly, the cells used a different signaling pathway, IL-6-STAT3, and when we blocked this signaling muscle atrophy and fibrosis halted. While further studies in humans are needed, this is a promising finding as FDA-approved medicines that block IL-6 and STAT3 are available.  (more…)