WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The ALS Association and Target ALS are pleased to announce the launch of a new collaborative effort to expand the collection of biofluids from people with ALS, to be used for research to better understand the disease and ultimately develop new treatments.
The ALS Association will be investing $1,392,668 over the next 38 months. Funding from The ALS Association will allow pre-mortem biofluids (serum, plasma, and cerebrospinal fluid) to be collected and stored at the sites that comprise the Target ALS Postmortem Tissue Core at Barrow Neurological Institute/Saint Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, Columbia University in New York, Georgetown University in Washington D.C., Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and University of California at San Diego. Detailed genetic analysis will be performed on all these cases at The New York Genome Center, all the data will be linked, and all of the samples and data will be made available for researchers around the world.
ALS 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. For unknown reasons, veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population. There is no cure, and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) modestly extends survival.
The Target ALS Postmortem Tissue Core is a unique resource in the field of ALS research, providing high-quality post-mortem tissue for academic and industry researchers throughout the world. Target ALS has invested $1.04M to date into the core. The addition of pre-mortem biofluids from the same individuals will greatly expand the potential utility of the samples, by allowing researchers to explore biomarkers in biofluids that correspond to changes in tissues.
"The studies that will be made possible by the addition of biofluids to the Tissue Core have the potential to deepen the understanding of the ALS disease process and, through discovery of new biomarkers linked to specific aspects of the disease, accelerate the search for new treatments," said ALS Association Chief Scientist Lucie Bruijn, Ph.D., M.B.A. "We are very pleased to be partnering with Target ALS on this important initiative."
"This partnership has created a first-of-its-kind resource to lower the barriers for, and accelerate the pace of translational research in ALS. Target ALS is delighted to partner with The ALS Association on this much-needed initiative," said Target ALS Executive Director Manish Raisinghani, M.D., Ph.D.
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.
About TARGET ALS Target ALS is a privately funded international consortium of researchers from academic and biotech/pharma laboratories entirely focused on finding a treatment for patients living with ALS. We fund Research Consortia that have accelerated identification and validation of new targets for treatment of ALS, Springboard Fellowships to support work of emerging research leaders, and core facilities that lower barriers for cutting edge ALS research worldwide. For more information visit our website at www.TargetALS.org.