Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

ALS — François Berthod, Ph.D.

MDA has awarded a grant totaling $347,094 over three years to François Berthod, a professor in the department of surgery at Laval University in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The funds will help support Berthod's study of the underlying molecular mechanisms and disease process in ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease).

ALS is characterized by the degeneration of motor neurons (nerve cells that control muscle movement) in the spinal cord and brain.

ALS — James Berry, M.D.

MDA has awarded a clinical research training grant totaling $180,000 to clinical research fellow James Berry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston. The grant will support completion of a two-year fellowship during which Berry plans to study the effects of a drug called ISIS-333611 in familial, or inherited, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

ALS — Ellen Barrett, Ph.D.

Ellen Barrett, professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of Miami (Florida) Miller School of Medicine was awarded an MDA grant totaling $297,102 over three years. The funds will support Barrett's study of the disease process and potential therapies in familial, or inherited, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease).

MDA Symposium Looks at Partnerships Between Industry and Academia

Enhancing collaboration and transfer of technology between academia and industry was the subject of MDA's recent Translational Research Symposium, one of a series of four MDA-sponsored research symposia scheduled in 2012.

The symposium was held June 27 in New Orleans, in conjunction with the 2012 New Directions in Biology and Disease of Skeletal Muscle Conference.

'ALS Postcards' Highlight Global Efforts to Defeat ALS

On World ALS Day, June 21, 2012, the ALS Therapy Development Institute launched "ALS Postcards" as part of an international effort to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — known as motor neurone disease, or MND, in most parts of the world.

Pioglitazone Benefits Mice But Not Man

The anti-diabetic drug pioglitazone did not improve survival time when tested as an add-on therapy to riluzole in a phase 2 clinical trial of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The trial, which was conducted in Germany, was stopped early "for futility" when interim results showed no effects on survival. (A futility trial is one that is designed to stop at a designated point if it's clear that the drug is not having the intended effect.)

Patient Assistance Program Launched for Nuedexta

A new Patient Assistance Program can help people with a diagnosis of pseudobulbar affect (PBA) get a medication designed to treat the condition at low or no cost.

MDA Symposium Puts Glial Cells in the Spotlight

The contribution of nervous system support cells called glia to the degeneration of motor neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)was the topic of serious discussion among researchers at MDA's Neuron Symposium on May 22, 2012.

The meeting, held at MDA's national headquarters in Tucson, Ariz., brought together ALS researchers studying the toxic role played in that disease by glia, and scientists who specialize in these key support cells.

MDA Launches New Research Symposium Series

This month, MDA is launching a new U.S.-based symposium series to address important topics and ultimately to accelerate therapy development for neuromuscular diseases.

"MDA’s new symposium series is designed to address cutting-edge issues in neuromuscular disease research," said Sanjay Bidichandani, MDA's vice president of research. "Science is advancing at a rapid pace, and these small and focused meetings will allow us to be nimble in tackling multiple issues every year."

Neuralstem Seeks to Expand Stem Cell Trial

The biotherapeutics company Neuralstem is seeking to amend the design of its ongoing phase 1 stem cell trial in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to include evaluations of efficacy (how well the therapy works).

Although the phase 1 trial isn’t currently designed to evaluate efficacy, early results reported in March noted that one participant showed signs of clinical improvement.

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