Project Raman for ALS

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a complex neurodegenerative disease that progressively ends up with irreversible muscle atrophy. ALS diagnosis and monitoring are based on phenotypic signs, electrophysiological test and clinical scales, whereas biomarkers correlated with the pathology are missing.

For this reason LABION has decided to focus part of its research on the identification of biomarkers using high sensitive and specific techniques, Raman and mass spectroscopy MALDI-TOF. Both techniques are highly sensitive tools that can be used to detect biochemical modifications in a biofluid. Thanks to such highthroughput techniques, Dr. Cristiano Carlomagno has designed a research project on the identification of a new biomarker for ALS diagnosis and patients’ stratification.

The project has been granted by Ministero della Salute and is expected to start in July 2019. For three years Dr. Carlomagno and the LABION team will use as valuable source of ALS biomarkers the human saliva. Saliva is a complex fluid containing bioactive systemic molecules that can be collected through a non-invasive procedure and their levels are sensitive to the physiopathological state of the patient.

The identification of presence and levels of salivary biomarkers in ALS patients represents a fast and non-invasive procedure to evaluate the pathological state and progression.

The clinical relevance of the present research relies in the possibility to overcome the existing lack of biomarkers for the evaluation of the complex clinical status of ALS patients. The results will lead to the identification of new biomarkers involved in the pathological state and neurological system degeneration using a combined spectroscopic tool that allows high-sensitive, repetitive and frequent analyses without side effects. The data obtained will provide measurable clinical parameters useful for the patient classification. Moreover, standardization of a combined protocol using RS and MALDITOF
represents a potential tool for the evaluation of ALS onset and treatments efficacy, in order to personalize and fine tune the therapeutic approach ameliorating patients’ quality of life.