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Research group leader Peter Andersen in his laboratory.

Image: Mattias Pettersson

Peter Andersen Lab

Research group We conduct clinical and pre-clinical research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

ALS is a collective name for a group of motor neuron diseases afflicting approximately 230 people in Sweden each year. What all variants have in common, is a loss of motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord leading to muscle weakness and eventually paralysis. The symptoms gradually spread as more and more motor nerve cells are degraded, and patients generally die within 5 years, due to involvement of the respiratory muscles.

Frontotemporal dementia, FTD, is a disease that manifests through personality changes. The ability to concentrate, judgement, and impulse control are impaired. Decreased power of initiative, outbursts of anger, and lack of empathy are other early signs. In some, the symptoms start with decreased language comprehension and difficultly to express oneself. The symptoms pile up as the damage to the brain spreads, and the patient develops difficulties in managing in everyday life.

Our research on ALS and FTD mainly involves analyses on research samples from patients and their family members. Our focus is on:  

  • Genetic changes that can cause or decrease the risk of disease.
  • Clinical trials and mapping of disease development in diverse types of ALS
  • Biomarkers – molecular profiles, in blood plasm or cerebrospinal fluid, that can be used to identify different type of AKS. The hope is to find useful specific biomarkers that can facilitate making the correct diagnosis, choosing treatment strategy, and evaluating how a patient responds to a certain treatment.
  • Molecular mechanisms behind protein aggregation and degeneration of motor nerve cells.
  • Mechanisms for prion-like spread of misfolded SOD1 protein in the nervous system in ALS.

Head of research

Peter Andersen
Professor, senior consultant (attending) physician


Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Clinical Sciences

Research area

Learning about protein aggregates to solve the riddle of ALS

Peter Andersen has found mechanisms that may make it possible to treat or even prevent it.

Simpler and reliable ALS diagnosis with blood tests

Blood tests may enable more accurate diagnosis of ALS at an earlier stage of the disease, according to study.

Latest update: 2024-03-07