Some forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) could actually be caused by an infectious virus, with scientists reporting that human endogenous retrovirus-K (HERV-K), normally dormant, has been found in an active form in the postmortem brain cells of certain individuals with ALS.
Experiments using the active HERV-K in cells grown in a dish, and in mice with experimental ALS further demonstrated that the virus kills cells in a manner similar to what is observed in ALS. The findings, considered important, inspired the launch of a small clinical trial examining the use of combination antiretroviral therapy in people with sporadic ALS.
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