The ALS Association, in partnership with the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND Association), and the ALS Society of Canada, have come together to support the ALS Reproducible Antibody Platform (ALS-RAP) with a $600,000 grant to create an open-access pipeline to validate antibody research. ALS-RAP will provide the ALS research community with the highest quality reliable, renewable antibodies for ALS genes to galvanize and enable a faster and even more efficient development of therapies to address the ALS challenge, globally.
“The ALS Association is delighted to fund this exciting initiative and believe it will be an extremely valuable open resource for researchers across the globe,” said Dr. Lucie Bruijn, chief scientist at The ALS Association
Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins that play a key role in the immune system and begin the process of getting rid of invaders that may cause harm or infection in the body. In the lab, antibodies are used by cell biologists for the detection of molecules of interest in a variety of research and diagnostic applications.
Antibodies are among the most frequently used tools in basic science research and clinical assays. Researchers either purchase or generate their own antibodies to detect proteins in their model systems. Due partly to the lack of a common, transparent validation framework, antibodies often have high variability and low specificity, which may result in questionable results, wasted time and money, and compromised scientific progress.
In response, ALS-RAP was formed to ensure the availability of the highest quality, validated antibodies developed, using standard operating procedures that will be openly shared with the ALS research community. Notably, no form of intellectual property protection or patents will be filed for new reproducible antibodies that are fully discovered and developed by ALS-RAP.
This collaborative effort, based on open science and complete freedom to operate, will ensure the use of the highest-quality tools to increase the success of future drug discovery.
ALS-RAP was created as a public-private partnership among world experts in antibody generation and validation, including Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) and its associated labs at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) McGill University in Montreal (Canada), the University of Oxford (UK), and the Karolinska Institute (Sweden).
Standard operating procedures will be established to characterize ALS antibodies – both commercially available and newly created – to ensure they exceed the stringent quality criteria to establish a public list of “gold-standard” antibodies that will ultimately lay a solid foundation for successful ALS therapies.
This initiative brings together antibody experts from institutions all over the world. The SGC is a global network of experienced academic and industry scientists that will contribute expertise in the development of reagents required for target validation and drug discovery.
ALS-RAP will be working with Dr. Lucie Bruijn, chief scientist for The ALS Association, Dr. Brian Dickie, director of research development at the MND Association, and Dr. David Taylor, vice president, research, for the ALS Society of Canada as well as the following advisors, who will provide input and guidance into the panel of proposed antibodies to be generated:
- Janice Robertson, professor at University of Toronto;
- Aaron Gitler, professor of Genetics at Stanford University
- Joe Lewcock, head of Biology Discovery at Denali;
- and Dr. Janine Kirby, reader in Neurogenetics at The University of Sheffield.
An ALS Gene Prioritization Panel with additional experts will also be created to ensure the nomination of genes into ALS-RAP will be transparently responsive to requests for antibody creation and validation from the global ALS research community.
Taken together, ALS-RAP will galvanize and enable a faster and even more efficient development of therapies to address the ALS challenge, globally.
READ press release here.
The ALS Association contributed a $200,000 grant for ALS-RAP through the Lawrence and Isabel Drug Development Program to:
Dr. Wen Hwa Lee at University of Oxford
Project name: Generation and validation of open access recombinant monoclonal antibodies for reproducible ALS research
This support was made possible by ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (IBC) donations. For more information on IBC spending, click here.