Orangetheory Fitness Clubs in US, Canada to Plan Fundraiser for Augie’s Quest and ALS Research

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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Orangetheory fitness members across the United States and Canada plan to raise $2 million for Augie’s Quest to cure ALS, an organization supporting research into a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Money raised this year will go to help advance a promising potential ALS treatment, AT-1501, into a clinical trial. AT-1501, a monoclonal antibody that targets a cause of neurodegeneration, is being developed by Anelixis Therapeutics.

Orangetheory is partnering with Augie’s Quest for a second year in a fund-raising effort. The fitness group more than doubled its 2017 fundraising goal, collecting over $2.085 million in two weeks.

This year’s campaign, #IBurnForALS, will take place from Feb. 15 to March 8, with more than 800 studios in North America challenging members to donate at least $1 per “splat point” achieved. A splat point is earned each minute a member spends in the Orange Zone, the target-training zone of 84 to 91 percent of their heart rate.

“We feel so fortunate to again partner with Orangetheory, who is helping us truly make an impact to end ALS,” Augie Nieto, founder of Augie’s Quest and chairman of the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), said in a press release. “In particular, Orangetheory donations helped our Institute further build their medicine program and hire a full-time scientist dedicated to research.”

AT-1501, a monoclonal antibody designed to target a cause of neurodegeneration, is being developed by Anelixis Therapeutics, a subsidiary of that institute.

Specifically, it is an antibody against a protein called CD40 ligand (CD40L). Antibodies are proteins designed to bind and block a particular target — in this case, CD40L. CD40L is a protein involved in regulating the immune response, can trigger inflammation in the spinal cord. In ALS patients, research has shown that the CD40L pathway is overactive.

Researchers want to test if the potential therapy could block or delay the activation of a damaging and inflammatory immune response, to slow disease progression in patients and prevent the disease in those seen to be as risk.

As part of the #IBurnForALS campaign, Orangetheory will also host Augie-thon, a studio session across all its studios on Saturday, March 3. The 90-minute class will be open to both members and non-members with a $25 donation. Those unable to attend but wishing to donate to Augie’s Quest can do so here.

ALS TDI is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based laboratory space dedicated to conducting innovative ALS research projects.

Augie’s Quest was founded in 2013, some years after Nieto, founder of Life Fitness, was diagnosed with ALS in 2005. With his wife, Lynne, the Nietos work to get friends, family and the fitness industry to fund science at ALS TDI. To date, their efforts have raise more than $60 million for research into treatments and a potential cure, the release states.