Jasna Kriz, associate professor in the department of psychiatry and neuroscience at Laval University, Quebec City, Canada, was awarded an MDA research grant totaling $445,086 over a period of three years to help refine and describe a new mouse model that will enable scientists to visualize different aspects of the disease process in ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease).
Previously, Kriz and colleagues developed mouse models with bioluminescent and fluorescent genes (from fireflies) that allow researchers to visualize ALS-related events such as neuroinflammation and neuronal damage in the brains and spinal cords of living mice. They even were able to detect distinct and disease-specific signals linked to presymptomatic stages of the disease.
Now, Kriz plans to use the previously generated models to generate ALS imaging reporter mice, which will enable scientists to visualize, in live mice, different elements of the ALS disease process.
Once their characteristics are fully understood, the ALS reporter mice will represent a unique tool that will allow scientists to study the ALS disease process and real-time response to experimental therapies.
Favorable results are expected to lead to more efficient translation of experimental therapies to the clinic and new therapeutic strategies for ALS.
Funding for this MDA grant began August 1, 2011.