A researcher from Baltimore is going to receive $130,000 to support her research on the most frequent subtype of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); the funds come from the Clinical Research Training Fellowship in ALS, co-sponsored by the ALS Association and American Brain Foundation. The award was presented during the largest meeting of neurologists, the American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting, in Washington, DC last week.
Hristelina S. Llieva works at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore and received the award for her work regarding the most frequent subtype of familial ALS — C9ORF72 linked ALS. Her focus is on discovering an answer to why different glial cell dysfunction potentially contributes to familial ALS, a mainly neuronal disease. “My hope is that better understanding of how these cells contribute to this disease might open potential doors for intervention,” she said.
ALS, also named Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rapidly progressive, deadly neurological condition that attacks the neurons (nerve cells) that control voluntary muscles. As a consequence of the disease, the brain loses the ability to start and control voluntary movement. 10 percent of ALS cases are considered familial ALS and in those cases, more than 1 person in the family has the disease.
The 2-year award includes an annual salary of $55,000 and an additional amount of $10,000 per year as support for formal education in clinical research methodology. Clinical research is crucial since it assures the transition between discovery and the actual treatment and it supports the scientific basis to efficiently address both patient and caregiver’s needs and it allows drug advancement and cost-effective studies to improve lives.
“I am both honored and very excited. I view this as an opportunity to contribute to the clinical ALS research field, and with this opportunity comes the sense of responsibility to both the patients and their families and also to the ALS scientific community to do the best job possible,” said Llieva.
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Biopharmaceutical company MediciNova, Inc. recently announced in a press release that the initial results of an ongoing clinical trial for the drug MN-166 (ibudilast) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) were presented by the study’s principal investigator Dr. Benjamin Rix Brooks at the 2015 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 67th Annual Meeting held in Washington, DC.