These terms are commonly used in research related publications and amongst researchers.

These terms may also apply to the General Terms and Medical Terms definition list.

ALS Research and ALS Researcher Terms


A precise and detailed plan for the study of a biomedical problem or for a regimen of an experimental therapy.

routes of administration

The different ways in which a drug can be delivered (i.e. intravenously, intrathecally, intramuscularly, orally).

therapeutic index

A general way of measuring an effective dose of a drug and its toxicity.


The amino acid from which dopamine is made.


The agent used (by researchers) to carry new genes into cells. Plasmids currently are the vectors of choice, though viruses and other bacteria are increasingly being used for this purpose.


Wobbler is a neurodegenerative disease model that arose in a laboratory mouse by chance. As it has a very valuable phenotype that mimics ALS and other motor neuron diseases, it was maintained by breeding. As it was a mutation that arose spontaneously, we currently have no information on where in the mouse genome the ALS-producing mutation is present.


This drug has extended the life of ALS mice by 21 percent. Studies concluded that although zVAD-FMK helps mice, the drug is too toxic for human use. ALS-TDF is collaborating in the development of safer drugs that affect the same pathways. There are two new versions of zVAD-FMK that are now in formulation testing at the ALS-TDF Foundation.


A drug being trialed (2006) for ALS patients to help slow (or inhibit) the progress of motor neuron degeneration.

Defective glutamate metabolism

Defective glutamate metabolism is one possible theories for the cause of ALS. The theory of pathogenesis of ALS is excito-toxicity of glutamate. Glutamate is a common chemical in the nervous system used by neurons to signal between one another. Glutamate is important for normal nerve cell function but is toxic in excess.

Gene defects

Another possible cause of ALS is gene defects. The possible genetic contribution to the development of ALS is an active research area. 10% of ALS is inherited, and twenty percent of these patients carry a common mutation in the Superoxide Dismutase Gene (SOD1).