2018 AAN Conference Highlights ALS Environmental Risk Factors

At last week’s 70th Annual American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Meeting in Los Angeles, neuroscientists and neurologists from all over the world came together to present their important work and learn from each other. We are proud that many top ALS researchers we support attended and presented a wide range of research, on topics ranging from environmental risk factors to work leading up to clinical trials.

This is the first in a two-part series highlighting some of the exciting work presented at the AAN event. This first article discusses the research around environmental factors impacting ALS risk.

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Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals Reports Negative Results from Phase II NP001 Study in ALS

Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. reported disappointing results from its phase II clinical trial studying the impact of an immune regulator, NP001, in people living with ALS who had increased levels of inflammation. The company presented the negative results during the 70th Annual American Academy of Neurology Meeting in Los Angeles.

Continue reading Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals Reports Negative Results from Phase II NP001 Study in ALS

Sheila Essey Award Winner Profile: Dr. Timothy Miller

Dr. Timothy Miller, the David Clayson Professor of Neurology from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis accepted the 2018 Sheila Essey Award for ALS Research April 23 at the American Academy of Neurology 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

The ALS Association, in partnership with the American Academy of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation announced the award in March.

Dr. Miller is a dedicated physician scientist that has worked hard for many years with the goal to uncover effective therapies for ALS. We recently sat down with Dr. Miller to learn more about his impressive career in ALS, his current interests, and how his work has impacted the ALS field.

Continue reading Sheila Essey Award Winner Profile: Dr. Timothy Miller

Ice Bucket Donations at Work: A Superhuman Way to Look at Cells Using Artificial Intelligence

To make cell characteristics visible to the human eye, even under a microscope, scientists normally use chemicals that can kill the very cells they want to observe.

Dr. Steven Finkbeiner, director and senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco (pictured above), recently teamed with computer scientists at Google for a groundbreaking new study funded by The ALS Association Neuro Collaborative through ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations. The research shows that computers can see details in images without using invasive methods.

For example, using artificial intelligence (AI), computers can examine cells that haven’t been treated with chemicals and find a wealth of data that saves researchers time and effort, and the number of features that can be obtained from images is extraordinary. Extensive hours of researchers sitting at the microscope manually analyzing cell images could eventually become a thing of the past.

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$3 Billion Boost for NIH in FY2018 Appropriations Bill Should Also Boost ALS Research

Late last month, Congress passed a $1.3 trillion fiscal year 2018 Consolidated Appropriations spending bill that included a $3 billion increase to funding for medical research to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Funding to the NIH has increased to $37 billion, the largest bump they have seen in years.

Since NIH is the largest funder of ALS research in the world, any increase to their budget could also mean an increase in funding for ALS research. In fiscal 2017, the NIH spent $55 million on ALS research, up from $52.2 million in fiscal 2016.

“It’s a huge win for The ALS Association and the ALS community to see such a significant NIH budget increase,” said Calaneet Balas, president and CEO of The ALS Association. “We’re confident the increased budget will enable new ALS research, which is critical to ending this devastating disease, and thank our lawmakers for their hard work to make it possible. This gives our advocate community a boost, increasing our momentum to work hard toward our appropriation goals for fiscal year 2019.”

The ALS Association and its vast network of ALS Advocates are committed to supporting increased funding for the NIH, especially for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the lead institute for ALS research. Increased funding for the NIH is a consistent part of the Association’s legislative priorities each year.

The ALS Association is second to the NIH for ALS funding globally, with a $18 million research budget in fiscal year 2019 to fund external grants to top ALS researchers around the world.

The ALS Association is pleased that, as part of the increase, the NIH’s BRAIN Initiative received a $140 million investment. The BRAIN Initiative is aimed at developing tools, technologies, and foundational knowledge to understand how the brain’s circuits code and store information.

The Initiative’s work includes mapping the brain’s circuits and recording and modulating brain activity using cutting-edge technologies. We believe many of the BRAIN Initiative’s research projects will add knowledge to understanding the disease pathways underlying ALS.

The ALS Association will bring together more than 500 ALS Advocates in Washington, D.C., at the annual National ALS Advocacy Conference next month to continue to advocate for increased NIH funding, along with our other important legislative priorities.

For more information about our legislative priorities for the conference and this fiscal year, click here.

The NIH has posted its Congressional Justification and materials related to the administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget request for the agency to the NIH Office of Budget website at: https://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/br.html.

The Overview is available at: https://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/pdfs/FY19/br/Overview.pdf.

Justifications for individual institutes and centers are available at: https://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/insti_center_subs.html.

Ice Bucket Dollars at Work: Researchers Explore Promising New Way to Treat ALS

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, funded by The ALS Association with ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations, are dedicated to finding unique avenues for treating ALS. Using animal models, they transplanted specially engineered neural cells into the motor cortex of the brain, the area responsible for muscle movement.

They found that the transplanted cells protected motor neurons (the cells that die in ALS), delayed disease progression, and extended survival in animal models.

Continue reading Ice Bucket Dollars at Work: Researchers Explore Promising New Way to Treat ALS

Join the Fight Against ALS: Become an Advocate

Do you have a passion for making your voice heard and empowering others? Do you want to make a difference in the lives of people with ALS?

The 16,000+ advocates for The ALS Association are people living with ALS, family members, friends, caregivers, researchers, scientists, and healthcare professionals who are ready to see a world without ALS.

They are willing to ask their elected congressional representatives to provide funds for research toward treatments and a cure for ALS, and to provide better access to care and services for those affected by the terrible disease. They’re making a real and lasting impact on our ALS community.

There is no better time than today to become an ALS Advocate! Every effort inspires hope and helps bring us one step closer to a world without ALS.

Continue reading Join the Fight Against ALS: Become an Advocate