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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

EPH receptor A4 (EPHA4)

In vitro and in vivo studies suggest inhibiting EPHA4 could help treat ALS. In a genetic screen in zebrafish expressing a mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (Sod1) that causes ALS, EphA4 was identified as a regulator of disease phenotype. In a rat model of mutant Sod1-associated ALS, pharmacological inhibition of EphA4 delayed disease onset and increased survival compared with vehicle. In patients with ALS, lower EPHA4 levels in serum correlated with later disease onset. Next steps could include testing EphA4 inhibitors in additional animal models.

SciBX 5(37); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.984
Published online Sept. 20, 2012

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Van Hoecke, A. et al. Nat. Med.; published online Aug. 26, 2012;
Contact: Wim Robberecht,
Catholic University Leuven, Leuven, Belgium