Dilemma: When 1 Drug Treats 2 Diseases

Amy Dockser Marcus
Wall Street Journal

A drug used to treat multiple sclerosis has also been shown to slow the progression of Lou Gehrig’s disease in mice, a nonprofit biotechnology company plans to announce Tuesday. Now, scientists face a dilemma.

Many patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease, a fatal disorder formally known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, may want to try the drug on their own—even though there’s no evidence that it is safe or effective in patients with the disease.

But scientists want patients to enroll in a clinical trial, one that specifically examines how the drug, Gilenya, works in people with ALS. They hope to launch that trial later this year.

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