Pharmaceutical company Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation submitted a formal proposal to the United States Food and Drug Administration for approval of a drug to treat ALS. The drug, Edaravone, gets rid of toxic waste that is a normal by-product of cell function. It is thought that this waste is not as effectively removed in ALS patients, causing damage to motor neurons, which are the cells that die in ALS patients. Edaravone would protect these neurons by helping rid the cells of this waste.
The Edaravone new drug application is supported by clinical research with ALS patients in Japan, and in 2015, Edaravone was approved as a treatment for ALS in Japan and South Korea. After being submitted to the FDA for consideration, it could either be automatically approved for use in the U.S., or it could require a Phase III study conducted in the U.S.