ALS Research Update from New York Genome Center Scientific Director and CEO – Dr. Tom Maniatis

From donations raised through the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, The ALS Association, in partnership with the Greater New York Chapter, made a $2.5 million commitment to the Center for Genomics of Neurodegenerative Disease (CGND) at the New York Genome Center (NYGC). This commitment, combined with a matching gift from the Tow Foundation, was one of the driving forces supporting the NYGC’s ALS research program in 2014. Three years later, the NYGC’s CGND has made enormous headway in the ALS genetics space and has become one of the major leaders in the field. Their accomplishments are broad in that they have sequenced and analyzed hundreds of ALS DNA samples, while pairing this information with patient clinical history and more. We are pleased to note that Tom Maniatis, PhD, one of the NYGC’s original founders and renowned ALS researcher, was recently appointed Scientific Director and Chief Executive Officer of the NYGC.

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Every Walk: Help Kids4Cure Hit the $1 Million Mark

In 2004, Paul Carey Jr. was 13 years old, and his brother Christian was 11. The boys were both active in all kinds of extracurriculars. Paul was a passionate hockey athlete and Christian a talented young actor, and both excelled at schoolwork.

One Friday in May 2004, their world turned inside-out. As they sat on their living room couch in their Cincinnati, Ohio home, their parents explained to them that their mother, Lorri, had been diagnosed with ALS. Lorri was 38 years old.

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Every Bright Young Scientist: Meet Dr. Veronique Belzil

Meet Dr. Veronique Belzil, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Jacksonville, Fla., and a former ALS Association Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellow. Having been personally touched by ALS, she is extremely dedicated to finding treatments and ultimately a cure for this devastating disease.

Her work focuses on sporadic ALS, which is a type of ALS that is not genetically inherited and accounts for approximately 90% of all ALS cases. We are proud to report her recent successes of identifying new ALS genes and disease pathways that can be targeted for developing potential ALS therapeutics. This important work was published in August in the journal Acta Neuropathologica. Read more about Dr. Belzil’s extraordinary work, her vision for the future of ALS research, and what she is up to now.

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Clinical Trial: ALS Association and ALS Finding a Cure® Supported Phase II RNS60 Trial is Now Enrolling

The clinical trial to test RNS60, a new compound for the treatment of ALS, which was supported in part from a $1.0 million grant through the ALS ACT initiative funded by The ALS Association and ALS Finding A Cure®, is now actively enrolling. This randomized placebo-controlled phase II study is being run by the IRCCS Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan and the ALS Center of the Maggiore University Hospital in Novara Italy. We are happy to report that the first patient was dosed in mid-July 2017.

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Every Advocate Adds Up: Meet Larry

All month, we are featuring stories of individuals who are having an impact in the fight against ALS.

Meet Larry Harms. Larry is a father, grandfather, decorated Air Force veteran and tireless ALS advocate from Colorado. When you meet Larry, his wonderful sense of humor, optimism and love for life is immediately apparent. We recently sat down with Larry and learned how determined he is to live life to the fullest despite his diagnosis.

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Every Innovation

By Jill Yersak, Ph.D.

It’s been three years since the viral fundraising phenomenon known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which allowed us to dedicate millions of dollars to our global TREAT ALS™ research program.

Because research takes time, we are now starting to see results of our investments. This is a very exciting time in ALS research!

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Every Scientist: Meet Dr. Tania Gendron

All month, we are featuring stories of individuals who are having an impact in the fight against ALS.

Meet Dr. Tania Gendron, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. She fights ALS by working hard every day in the lab to find a cure for this devastating disease. Her work focuses on optimizing ALS biomarkers to track and better understand the most common genetic mutation in inherited ALS, called C9orf72.

The ALS Association has supported Dr. Gendron’s work as part of the TREAT ALSTM global research program with the hope to accelerate ALS biomarker progress. We are happy to report that she and her colleagues have made significant advances and recently published a paper in Annals of Neurology titled, “Phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain: A biomarker of survival for C9orf72-associated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.” Read more to learn how Tania contributes to ALS research by chipping away at the barriers between getting a drug from the lab and into clinical trials in her fight against ALS.

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