Seminar Will Bring ALS Researchers to Patient Groups

The Leading ALS Lab Presents on Therapy Development Strategy

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) has announced the 2009 launch of its popular ALS Research 101 series. The two-hour, interactive seminar is designed to inform and update patients, their families and local communities on worldwide efforts to discover and develop effective treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease).

People diagnosed with this fatal disease typically succumb within three years of initial symptoms because there are no effective therapeutics to slow or stop the relentless progression. ALS TDI will offer the free seminars in a dozen cities and towns across the United States this year.

"Every day, ALS patients are bombarded with new reports and claims of breakthroughs. We aim to provide patients and their families with the tools to navigate through endless streams of information and to use that knowledge in a positive way. As researchers, we have a responsibility to help make today's scientific research approachable; conveying, for example, why therapeutic development has been challenging and what exciting prospects exist today," said John McCarty, Ph.D., an experienced biology researcher who serves as Director of Therapeutic Investigations at ALS TDI.

Dr. McCarty will be joined at each event by Mary Beth Geise, R.N., a nurse with more than 30 years experience working with ALS patients and their families. It is the team's objective to provide information on the latest research, address 'hot topics', and lead a discussion on quality of life issues. The speakers will also describe the impact a three-year, $18 million funding and scientific collaboration between ALS TDI and the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Augie's Quest initiative has had on the pace of research, as well as the recently announced 4ALS Awareness charitable campaign launched in partnership with Major League Baseball.

ALS TDI will kick off the series with an ALS Research 101 on March 28 in Orange County, California followed by stops in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 4, and Iowa City, Iowa on April 7. The Institute is also planning events in Detroit, Michigan and Seattle, Washington during the month of April; New Orleans, Louisiana in May; and Nashville, Tennessee and Denver, Colorado in June, with dates to be announced online soon. The Institute is also confirming locations for events in Green Bay, Wisconsin; Washington, D.C.; San Jose, California; New York City, New York and Boston, Massachusetts, before the end of the year. Registration is free but participants are encouraged to sign up early. Exact dates, times and locations will be announced locally, as well as online at http://www.als101.org, as they are confirmed.

For more information on the ALS Research 101 seminar series, please contact Jessica Sullivan at ALS TDI at (617) 441-7238 or via email at jsullivan@als.net. To be notified of changes to the tour, ALS community members are encouraged to sign-up for the ALS TDI monthly e-update newsletter at http://www.als.net.

About the ALS Therapy Development Institute

The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) (www.als.net), based in Cambridge, Mass., operates the world's largest research and development program focused exclusively on ALS. The Institute has a staff of more than 30 scientists and research technicians, working on behalf of ALS patients to discover and advance novel therapeutics for treating, and ultimately curing, ALS. The nonprofit biotechnology institute excels in identifying novel disease targets, discovering compounds that may act against these targets, and screening potential treatments for clinical development.

About Augie's Quest

Fitness pioneer Augie Nieto started Augie's Quest (www.augiesquest.org) in conjunction with MDA's ALS Division. Nieto is co-founder and former president of Life Fitness of Chicago, and chairman of Octane Fitness. He and his wife, Lynne, serve as co-chairpersons of MDA's ALS Division. Nieto received a diagnosis of ALS in March 2005.

About MDA

MDA (www.mda.org) is the world's largest provider of ALS services and funder of ALS research. Over the years, it has expended $230 million in this effort. It operated 225 clinics across the county, 38 of which are ALS-specific research and care centers.

Media Contact: Robert Goldstein, ALS TDI, 617.441.7295, rgoldstein@als.net

SOURCE ALS Therapy Development Foundation



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