BluSky raises $140K for ALS research at Miller Lab in St. Louis

The lab is using antisense oligonucleotides to develop RNA-targeted therapies

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by Mary Chapman |

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Continuing its annual support, BluSky Restoration Contractors has raised $140,000 to advance research at the Miller Laboratory at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, for new and better amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) treatments.

The funds were raised through the sixth annual Rakers Classic charity golf tournament, the signature fundraiser of the Lyle Rakers Charitable Foundation. Since 2018, when the foundation was established, the tournament has generated $638,000 for the St. Louis, Missouri research lab. The goal this year was $125,000.

Jim Rable, senior vice president of corporate development at Denver, Colorado-based BluSky, helped to create the foundation in honor of Lyle Rakers, his longtime friend and fellow BluSky employee.

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Rakers learned in 2017 he had brachial amyotrophic diplegia, a rare form of ALS also commonly known as fail arm ALS, or man-in-the-barrel syndrome, due to its progressive upper limb weakness and atrophy. The diagnosis rocked the company.

“We at BluSky support each other in the good times, and the not so good times,” said Rable in a BluSky press release. “We are truly grateful for the overwhelming amount of generosity and kindness from all [who] have participated, sponsored, donated, and volunteered at our events. Our goal is to grow our foundation to really raise significant funds to make a bigger impact in the world of ALS research.”

Research at the Miller Lab focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in ALS, dementia, and related disorders, and to develop novel therapies. The lab employs RNA-targeted therapeutic strategies, primarily using antisense oligonucleotides, which are pieces of RNA designed to silence specific genes and prevent protein production.

“The generous support from the Lyle Rakers Foundation allows us to push research on the cutting edge and bring new RNA-targeted therapies to clinical trial,” said Timothy Miller, MD, PhD, the principal investigator at the Miller Lab. “We are so honored to be associated with the Lyle Rakers Foundation and the terrific group of people that have put together another very successful golf tournament.”

Working with the Washington University School of Medicine ALS Center

The Miller Lab functions in conjunction with the Washington University School of Medicine ALS Center, comprised of physicians, clinicians, scientists, and other experts. The center treats ALS patients and offers access to clinical trials focused on personalized medicine to enhance the understanding, treatment, and prevention of ALS.