Hopeful Highlights from the Recent ALS MND Symposium

Earlier this month, The ALS Association was happy to travel to Dublin to participate in the 27th International Symposium on ALS/MND. The Symposium, the largest ever, brought together top ALS researchers and clinicians from all over the world. People in attendance, including those from The ALS Association, used the hashtag #alssymp during the event. Here are some of our favorites!

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Two Young Entrepreneurs Win Part of the ALS Assistive Technology Challenge

After over a year in the making, The ALS Association in partnership with Prize4Life awarded the ALS Assistive Technology prize in Dublin during the ALS/MND International Alliance Meeting. We are thrilled to award one of the top prizes to Dexter Ang and David Cipoletta, two young entrepreneurs that founded Pison Technology based out of Massachusetts. They blew the judges away with their easy-to-use, self-contained communication system based on muscle EMG signals. People living with ALS are able to learn and use the system to communicate in minutes. We observed first hand as participants were thrilled with its comfort and usability while testing out their technology. We sat down with CEO Dexter Ang and CTO David Cipoletta to learn more about their company and their exciting new technology.
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IBM’s Watson supercomputer discovers 5 new genes linked to ALS

You may have heard that IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, competed on Jeopardy! and is now being used to solve everything from business problems to diagnosing cancer. Today, we were thrilled to hear the latest Watson news: Working with a team at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, headed by Dr. Robert Bowser, Watson helped researchers discover 5 new ALS genes. The Barrow researchers are excited about Watson’s future potential for further neuroscience work, and so are we!

Watch IBM’s new video below, and read more about the announcement here.

A Two-Pronged Approach for SOD1-linked ALS Drug Discovery

By Mel Reichman, Ph.D.

Certain genetic changes in super oxide dismutase-1 (SOD1), the second most common form of inherited ALS, cause this protein composed of two parts (a dimer) to fall apart into individual pieces (monomers). These SOD1 monomers can abnormally clump together in motor neurons during ALS disease. Join me at The ALS Association December webinar to learn about my research to develop new ways to discover novel ALS drugs that stabilize SOD1 dimers. This includes a high-throughput screening technique, which could reveal unexpected, safe combinations of FDA-approved drugs to treat ALS.

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The ALS Association Joined Thousands of Neuroscientists at the Annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting in San Diego

Over 30,300 neuroscientists from around the world gathered in San Diego in November for the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), the largest annual meeting of scientists in the world. ALS was strongly represented at the meeting, with the presentation of approximately two hundred new research studies on genes, models, disease mechanisms and therapy development. These included many supported by The ALS Association under our TREAT ALSTM global research program that I highlight below.

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The ALS Association Partners with ALS Finding a Cure and NEALS to Support New Phase II RNS60 Trial Targeting Neuroinflammation

The ALS Association, in partnership with ALS Finding a Cure and the Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) is giving $1 million in total funding to support a new ALS clinical trial to test the efficacy of the experimental drug RNS60 in reducing inflammation that may slow the disease process. The Association is contributing $500,000 out of the total award. The trial is currently being setup and is slated to begin in the New Year. The study will be led by Drs. Ettore Beghi, at the IRCCS Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, Letizia Mazzini, at the University Hospital of Novara in Novar, Italy and Sabrina Paganoni, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

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