We recently sat down with Dr. Carlos Castañeda, assistant professor of biology and chemistry at Syracuse University. Thanks to funding from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, The ALS Association has funded Dr. Castañeda twice through our global research program, which supported this work.
Dr. Castañeda talked with us about the important findings in his recently published paper in Molecular Cell. His research explores cell degradation pathways with a focus on ubiquilin-2 (UBQLN2), a shuttle protein associated with ALS. Importantly, this work further links dysregulation of protein quality control pathways to ALS disease states.
Continue reading Ice Bucket Dollars at Work: Ubiquilin-2 (UBQLN2) is Linked to Cellular Stress Granules
By Dr. Richard Bedlack
I woke up this morning to the terrible news that Stephen Hawking died. While I never met the man, and didn’t really understand all he was saying about black holes, I learned a lot from him about what is possible for people with ALS.
At his diagnosis, Hawking was reportedly told that he would only live a few years and that there was nothing that could be done for him.
He beat his prognosis by many decades. While he appeared to decline a lot in the beginning of his illness, his progression seemed to slow, or even stop in later years. His course opened my eyes to the idea that there can be marked variability between people with ALS, and even within a given patient at different times.
Continue reading Guest Post: What I Learned from Stephen Hawking
Research funded with donations from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge recently uncovered evidence that promoting an increase in a specific immune cell in the brain and spinal cord of a mouse with ALS was associated with increased motor function, pointing to a potential treatment in the future.
During ALS disease, motor neurons degenerate and eventually die, resulting in a loss of the connection to muscles, which in turn weaken and eventually paralyze. Several studies have shown that microglia, which are a type of immune cell in the brain and spinal cord, increase the severity of neurodegeneration in ALS. Others have shown that microglia can contribute to maintaining the health of neurons.
Drs. Virginia Lee, Krista Spiller, and colleagues from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia set out to understand how microglia function in the brain and spinal cord to either protect against or contribute to neurodegeneration.
The ALS Association currently funds Dr. Spiller under our Investigator-Initiated Starter Grant program using donations from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Their paper was published in the February 20 issue of Nature Neuroscience journal.
They found that microglia can play a protective role in the brain and spinal cord in a TDP-43 mouse model. This suggests that encouraging healthy microglia to proliferate in cells could translate into a potential ALS therapy in the future.
Continue reading Ice Bucket Dollars at Work: Microglia Shown Neuroprotective in ALS TDP-43 Mice
Central nervous system (CNS) disorders afflict approximately 300 million people worldwide. They often span many years and are severely debilitating. And, in addition to the personal cost to patients and families, the economic burden reaches an estimated $1.5 trillion annually in the U.S.
Significant investment in the development of new therapies must be made to improve outcomes for people suffering from CNS disorders. Unraveling the disease pathways contributing to these disorders and identifying novel molecular targets for drug intervention are essential steps toward developing new treatment avenues.
Continue reading The ALS Association, Huntington’s Disease Society of America, and Teva Pharmaceuticals Launch Teva CNS Target Identification Challenge
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
Continue reading ALS Reproducible Antibody Platform is Created to Ensure Highest-Quality Antibodies to the ALS Community
Did you know we have been using telemedicine since the 1960s? Neil Armstrong and his fellow astronauts wore medical monitoring devices developed by NASA during their first moon landing in 1969. Since then, the use of telemedicine has exploded. Over half of all U.S. hospitals now use some form of telemedicine through more than 200 telemedicine networks.
According to the American Telemedicine Association, telemedicine is the remote delivery of health care services and clinical information using telecommunication technology. Millions of people use telemedicine to stay out of emergency rooms and hospitals, and instead, receive medical services at home. Telemedicine is also a great way to bring medical services to rural areas.
As the health of people living with ALS declines over time, telemedicine could be integral in reducing barriers to treatment and improving overall care. With that in mind, integrating telemedicine into multidisciplinary ALS care is beginning to emerge, but few reports evaluate its technical and medical feasibility.
Continue reading How Telemedicine is Integrating into ALS Multidisciplinary Care
Dr. Gene Yeo from the University of California San Diego recently published a paper in the journal Cell, describing his important work uncovering the role of stress granules (SGs) in ALS. His research is supported by The ALS Association Investigator-Initiated Grant program, with donations from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
We sat down with Dr. Yeo to hear how he and his team identified SG components that they found vary by stress and cell-type.
Continue reading Ice Bucket Dollars at Work: ALS Stress Granule Components Uncovered