Challenges of ALS drug research
ALS drug research is difficult and time-consuming.
It's important to have a strong supply of test subjects and an efficient method of analyzing the elusive early symptoms of ALS.
Add to this the scale of studying myriads of candidate molecules and you soon have an almost insurmountable study proposition on your hands.
This is why we use our own transgenic/mutant ALS model of zebrafish larvae and study them with our groundbreaking approach in behavioural research.
Standardized 3Z zebrafish larva
with impaired neuromuscular junction
Solution: Genetics and behavioural science
We take a two-pronged approach to tackling the problem from both sides.
First: By rearing highly customized transgenic/mutant zebrafish larvae we have a steady stream of test subjects with exactly the symptoms we require for our unique method.
Second: By using our advanced behavioural models we can analyze thousands of individuals at a time and pinpoint molecules showing the most potential for use in ALS medicine.
Our models exhibit highly predictable ALS symptoms relating to swim speed and startle responses. Evaluating drug efficacy based on those traits is therefore very efficient and accurate when using advanced behavioural analysis on a large scale.
The graphs seen here show differences between wild type (WT) zebrafish larvae and two lines of transgenic zebrafish larvae.
In 2017 we received backing from the Icelandic Technology Development fund to make our ALS assay even more efficient.
Our transgenic zebrafish larvae show lower mean swim velocity; a readily quantifiable trait we can measure with our unique software.
Their startle response is also impaired and highly predictable. Using obvious markers such as these greatly increases the efficiency of the 3Z approach.