$60K Grant to Support Work on Biomarkers for ALS, Like Disorders

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by Mary Chapman |

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Applications for a $60,000 one-year grant are now open for researchers working to discover or validate biomarkers for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or a similar disorder.

Those interested in trying for this award need to submit a letter of intent as to their project’s nature and intent by May 7.

The Biomarker Development/Validation 2021 grant comes from a partnership between the ALS Association and the Clinical Research in ALS and Related Disorders for Therapeutic Development (CreATe) Consortium, a federally funded rare diseases clinical research body that works to promote and assist collaborative study in ALS and related diseases.

Biomarkers that could inform treatment development are needed, according to the grant announcement on an ALS Association webpage. In addition to providing reliable measures for new therapies, biomarkers allow doctors to readily distinguish people with ALS from those who don’t have the disease, and can help evaluate ALS progression.

The partnership is particularly interested in proposals for developing either “wet” or “dry” biomarkers. Wet biomarkers can be biofluid-based, for example, while dry ones may pertain to neuroimaging or neurophysiology. Applicants may also request to utilize data or biological samples collected by the consortium.

Open to investigators in any country, applicants may request a one-year grant up to a maximum of $60,000. That amount includes indirect research costs, which are capped at 10%.

Among other reporting requirements, applicants must agree to present their work at an annual CReATe Consortium meeting, provide the consortium with research updates, and submit a final report at the funding period’s end.

Invitations requesting full applications go out on June 4; full applications are due by July 30. Awardees will be notified by August 30, with the award period starting at Sept. 1. Go here for more information.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the CreATe Consortium aims to advance treatment development for sporadic and familial forms of ALS, and its related diseases: frontotemporal dementia, primary lateral sclerosis, hereditary spastic paraplegia, multisystem proteinopathy, and progressive muscular atrophy. It seeks to support that goal partly through biomarker discovery and development.

To facilitate research, the consortium is establishing a repository of biological samples — such as DNA, blood, cerebrospinal fluid (the liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord), and urine — collected from patients in an ongoing observational multicenter clinical trial (NCT02327845). This study is still recruiting eligible patients with ALS and its related diseases at select sites in the U.S.; more information is available here.

Samples will be stored at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG) Biorepository at the University of Miami, which is sponsoring the study in collaboration with the ALS Association and other institutions.