NINDS to Fund Collaborative Grant Program With The ALS Association (ALSA) The Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) and The Hereditary Disease Foundation (HDF)
Announcement to Be Made During National ALS Advocacy Day, Thursday, May 17th
Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 562 - Outer Area
CALABASAS, Calif., May 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Media Announcement and Interview Opportunities Location: Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 562 - Outer Area 11:00am EST (directly following the Senate Special Subcommittee on Aging's Hearing on Caregiving) Lucie Bruijn, Vice President, Science Director The ALS Association (ALSA) Lbruijn@snet.net Jill Heemskerk, Program Director National Institutes for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Heemskej@ninds.nih.gov General: Barbara T. Boyle, National Executive Director/CEO, HDSA 800-345-HDSA, ext. 16, email@example.com Science: Christopher A. Ross, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of HDSA's Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee, 410-614-0011, firstname.lastname@example.org Huntington's Disease Society of America The press announcement will be made at 11am EST in front of Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 562 at the press avail for the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, Hearing on Caregiver Support. For more information, please call Carol Levey @ 818-692-6549. The ALS Association, during its National ALS Advocacy Day, will announce a historic collaborative research supplement program with The Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) and The Hereditary Disease Foundation (HDF), funded by The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). This administrative supplement program is designed to facilitate drug screens with neurodegenerative disease models. This first-of-its-kind collaborative research effort is seen as a significant, positive action taken by NIH in furthering the search for effective treatments and a cure for these neurodegenerative diseases. "The aim of this effort is to encourage the testing of an extensive and diverse FDA-approved compound collection in models of late onset neurodegenerative disorders such as ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease," stated Lucie Bruijn, Vice President and Scientific Director for The ALS Association. Adds Bruijn, "This is an important and exciting collaboration for the ALS community. ALSA is grateful to the NINDS for the commitment of set-aside funds to investigate this drug screen project." The NINDS intends to commit up to $1.0 million in FY 2001 to fund approximately 20 administrative supplements in response to this announcement. In addition, ALSA, HDSA and the Hereditary Disease Foundation, HDF, will each commit up to $100,000 in additional funds, and each will award approximately 2 supplements based on their own review of relevant applications. This administrative supplement program is issued in response to recommendations from the NINDS Strategic Plan (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/about_ninds/strategic_plan.htm) and the Parkinson's Disease Research Agenda (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/about_ninds/nihparkinsons_agenda.htm). This program will compare the effects of approximately 1000 known FDA approved drugs in tests for neurodegenerative disorders, including ALS. A drug that works in many different but related disease models will stand out as an especially promising candidate for clinical trials. As many as 25 investigators will participate in the program, and will submit their results to one central database. After six months, these investigators will meet to compare the results and evaluate candidates for clinical trials. Because the drugs being studied are already approved for use, they can be tested in humans without much of the time consuming animal testing that a new drug requires. "By simultaneously comparing the results of many related tests, we hope to quickly find out if an effective treatment exists within this set of drugs," says Jill Heemskerk, Director of the ALS program at NINDS. "The success of this program depends on joining the efforts of NIH and privately funded investigators, and we look forward to working together toward our common goal. "An important goal of this program is to facilitate the comparison of results across multiple assays. Toward achieving this goal, the NINDS will assist investigators in coordinating the results of screens funded under this program. This coordination of data depends on the use of a standard set of compounds, which has been designed for this project to include compounds of particular interest as treatments for neurodegenerative disease. This set of compounds, identified as the NINDS Custom Collection (NCC), is available from MicroSource Discovery Systems, Inc. (860-350-8078). Investigators will enter data into the database supplied by MicroSource Discovery. To facilitate the exchange of information among participating investigators, the NINDS will convene a workshop at the end of the supplemental project period (six months from the award date of the supplement). This will allow investigators to evaluate and prioritize effective compounds for inclusion in clinical trials. In their proposals, investigators should discuss their willingness to screen the standard compound set and share their results within this group, as this will be an important factor for review," stated Jill Heemskerk, Program Director, NINDS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that occurs when motor nerve cells cease to function and die. While a person's mind remains sharp and alert, muscle control becomes completely lost. Every 24 hours, 14 people are given the devastating news they have been diagnosed with ALS. The ALS Association is the only national not-for-profit voluntary health organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS, through research, patient support, information dissemination and public awareness. For more information about ALS and a link to the NINDS RFA, visit www.alsa.org. MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X55715039
SOURCE The ALS Association
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