WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, The ALS Association announced its award of $4.3 million in new research grants supporting 35 new projects. These awards are part of its Translational Research Advancing Therapy (TREAT ALS™) program, through which The Association funds a diverse portfolio of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research to find treatments and a cure for ALS.
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.
Funding is provided for 14 states in the U.S. as well as in Canada, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland, France and Argentina.
"These awards will drive research on several emerging fronts in the quest to understand and find treatments for ALS," said Lucie Bruijn, Ph.D., Chief Scientist for The ALS Association. "The generosity of our donors and supporters makes these grants possible. We are very grateful for that generosity and the opportunity it provides to make these awards for this important research."
Financial support from the following organizations and individuals enabled The ALS Association to fund these new research grants: Greater Philadelphia Chapter, Greater New York Chapter, The Jeff Kaufman Fund of the Wisconsin Chapter, Greater Chicago Chapter, Texas Chapter, Golden West Chapter, Greater Sacramento Chapter, Orange County Chapter, Greater San Diego Chapter; The Motor Neuron Disease Association of the United Kingdom; and Jay and Toshiko Tompkins.
The ALS Association funds both Investigator-Initiated Awards, for research proposed by investigators and Association-Initiated Awards, for research proposals in areas identified by The Association and its scientific advisors as key targets for new research.
The Association also offers The Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship for ALS Research Award. Founded by the Safenowitz family through the Greater New York Chapter of The ALS Association and in memory of Mr. Safenowitz, who died of ALS in 1998, these awards are to encourage and facilitate promising young scientists to enter the ALS field.
The Association is also continuing major support for the Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) to support the TREAT ALS NEALS Clinical Trials Network.
All of these new grants will support research to understand the causes of ALS, to develop new treatments, and to create tools that will help improve clinical trials of new therapies. More specifically, the research will include animal model systems, genetics, stem cells, and work directly with people with ALS. A list of all the awardees along with descriptions of each research proposal is available here.
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