Welcome!

News Feed Item

The ALS Association Announces New Grants to Investigate the Causes of and Treatments for Lou Gehrig's Disease

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The ALS Association is pleased to announce the awarding of five new grants to investigate the causes and treatment of ALS. The ALS Association identified the focus of each of these grants as areas with high potential for progress.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131211/MM32178LOGO)

ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. There is no cure and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that modestly extends survival.

"Through our TREAT ALS™ Portfolio, we are able to accelerate research in the most promising areas across the spectrum of ALS," said Lucie Bruijn, Ph.D., Chief Scientist for The ALS Association.

The TREAT ALS (Translational Research Advancing Therapies for ALS) Portfolio is a research endeavor enabling important global research to progress from the laboratory to the bedside.  The focus of the program is to support novel ideas, build tools, partner with academia and industry to identify new potential therapies and support the infrastructure for clinical trials with the goal to find meaningful treatments for ALS and a cure.

The funded grants are:

Palmitoylation of SOD1 and the pathogenesis of ALS
Principal Investigators: Raymond Roos, M.D. and William Green, M.D., University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.
Funded by The ALS Association, Greater Chicago Chapter, through the State of Illinois

The investigators will determine whether a specific chemical change in the mutant SOD1 protein contributes to the misfolding of the protein that occurs in the disease. Mutations in SOD1 are one cause of familial ALS. Mutant protein misfolds, which is thought to contribute to the degeneration of motor neurons containing it. The investigators have discovered that mutant SOD1 undergoes a chemical change, called palmitoylation, more often than normal SOD1. They will examine the effect of this change on misfolding to determine if and how it contributes to the disease process and whether altering palmitoylation can be therapeutic.

Corticospinal motor neuron developmental control genes as candidates for human ALS susceptibility
Principal Investigators: Jeffrey Macklis, Ph.D. (Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.), and Ammar Al Chalabi, M.D. (Kings College, London, UK)
Additional funds have been provided toward this study by MNDA UK

The development of motor neurons is under the control of a group of genes, each of which can exist in a variety of forms, or alleles. The specific set of alleles a person has may influence not only the development of their motor neurons, but also the susceptibility of those neurons to disease later in life, including ALS. The investigators will determine whether the alleles for these genes differ between people with ALS and those without it. Understanding whether and how developmental genes influence disease susceptibility will allow identification of many new targets for therapy.

Cognitive change and ALS staging: The relationship between cognitive and motor system involvement in ALS
Principal Investigators: Sharon Abrahams, Ph.D. (University of Edinburgh, Scotland); Ammar Al Chalabi, M.D. (Kings College, London, UK), and Orla Hardiman, M.D. (Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland)

People with ALS may experience cognitive changes as part of their disease, and these changes may influence their physical abilities. In this study, researchers will develop a better understanding of those cognitive changes and their relationship to physical functioning during the disease course. The aim is to both better understand this interaction and to develop a new disease staging system incorporating both cognitive and physical changes that can be used in clinical trials to track response to therapy.

AAV therapeutic agents for ALS
Principal Investigator: Zuoshang Xu, M.D. Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Worcester, Mass.

In this study, researchers will further develop a gene therapy delivery vehicle, or vector, using a new type of adeno-associated virus (AAV). AAV has been shown to be a versatile vector for reaching neurons in the central nervous system with a good safety record. Here, the scientists will develop the ability to pack a so-called "interfering RNA" into the vector and test its therapeutic ability in rats carrying a disease-causing SOD1 mutation. Success in this study will increase the rationale for development of gene therapy in people with ALS.

Familial ALS exome capture and genomic sequencing collaboration
Principal Investigators: Benjamin Neale, Ph.D. (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass.) and Christopher Shaw, M.D. (Kings College London, UK)

Several large-scale studies have produced volumes of data on gene variants associated with an increased risk for ALS. In this project, researchers will combine the data from those studies to better determine which of these gene variants is most strongly associated with disease. A key aspect of the research will be to stringently remove from consideration those variants that, despite some hint of association, are unlikely to be actually involved in ALS, thus streamlining the search for true risk genes. This project represents a major collaboration among multiple research groups, and its results will likely set the stage for developing much deeper insights into the genetics of ALS.

About The ALS Association
The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig's Disease on every front.  By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.  For more information about The ALS Association, visit our website at www.alsa.org.

SOURCE The ALS Association

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
"We focus on SAP workloads because they are among the most powerful but somewhat challenging workloads out there to take into public cloud," explained Swen Conrad, CEO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager – it’s starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are still a relatively small software house and we are focusing on certain industries like FinTech, med tech, energy and utilities. We help our customers with their digital transformation," noted Piotr Stawinski, Founder and CEO of EARP Integration, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We're here to tell the world about our cloud-scale infrastructure that we have at Juniper combined with the world-class security that we put into the cloud," explained Lisa Guess, VP of Systems Engineering at Juniper Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
"With Digital Experience Monitoring what used to be a simple visit to a web page has exploded into app on phones, data from social media feeds, competitive benchmarking - these are all components that are only available because of some type of digital asset," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
"We want to show that our solution is far less expensive with a much better total cost of ownership so we announced several key features. One is called geo-distributed erasure coding, another is support for KVM and we introduced a new capability called Multi-Part," explained Tim Desai, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Hitachi Data Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I'm here to leverage my secret sauce, which is using outsourced development and the company that I utilize is delaPlex Software and they've basically allowed me to win Fortune 500 companies," noted Justin Witz, CTO of FRA and PlanTools, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"As we've gone out into the public cloud we've seen that over time we may have lost a few things - we've lost control, we've given up cost to a certain extent, and then security, flexibility," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics,in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are an IT services solution provider and we sell software to support those solutions. Our focus and key areas are around security, enterprise monitoring, and continuous delivery optimization," noted John Balsavage, President of A&I Solutions, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...