METABOLEP is an international research and innovative project funded by the prestigious HEALTH RESEARCH programme from “la Caixa” Foundation in collaboration with Fundacion Francisco Luzon. The objectives of METABOLEP are aligned with the main goal of the strategic plan of The La Caixa Foundation, namely that both basic and clinical research are essential to find solutions for neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, that have no effective treatments. In this context, METABOLEP aims to objectively and rationally uncover the weaknesses of the knowledge about the value of leptin as a therapeutic to ALS.
In addition, Metabolep is part of Orphanet (http://www.orpha.net/data/prj/ES/ID141246EN.pdf), the portal for rare diseases and orphan drugs, supported by grants from the European Commission: Orphanet has gradually grown to a Consortium of 40 countries, within Europe and across the globe (https://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/index.php).
Despite great progress recently in the ALS field, no cure is available to stop the neurodegenerative progression of this disease and improve the lives of ALS patients.
and involves a rapid loss of motor function resulting in paralysis. Over 60% of patients die within 3-5 years after diagnosis. ALS therefore represents one of the most challenging socio-economic problems of our future. There is growing interest in the role of lifestyle factors in modifying the onset of neurodegenerative disorders such as ALS. While the cause of ALS is incompletely understood, studies have shown that ALS develops as a result of multiple factors, including metabolic alterations. Nutritional interventions are an emerging strategy of intervention for ALS patients. Indeed, hypercaloric diets could be a promising approach to reduce malnutrition in ALS patients. However, although clinical data have provided evidence to support hypercaloric nutrition as a potential therapy for ALS, we still need to better understand the relationship between energy intake and the pathomechanism of ALS, particularly those associated with TDP-43 ALS.
METABOLEP will aim to develop a relevant dietary intervention with the goal of increasing plasma levels of the adipocytokine leptin, to reduce hypermetabolism in ALS, through integrating studies in human tissue and animal models of emerging metabolism-centric therapeutic avenues for this disease. Our strategy selectively will act leading from changes in energy metabolism to widespread then in reducing systemic low grade inflammation and potentially protecting from neurodegeneration. This research will determine whether modulating energy metabolism is an underappreciated opportunity to alleviate disease progression in ALS.
Our consortium consists of three partners of various disciplines that will be complementary to each other and will add forces to succeed in the generation of a new strategy of intervention in ALS. Remarkably, METABOLEP is a women’s leadership consortium, however, is committed to gender equity through education, research, and outreach.