Target ALS Postmortem Tissue Core Now Includes Pre-Mortem Samples in Collection

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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The ALS Association, the nation’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to addressing Lou Gehrig’s disease in both research initiatives and patient support services, recently announced the launch of new partnerships with several hospitals and academic institutions in a renewed effort to expand the accumulation of biofluids from patients with ALS, for the research purposes.

Over the following 38 months the Association will be investing nearly $1.4 million in collecting pre-mortem biofluids from ALS patients, such as serum, plasma, and cerebrospinal fluid. Affiliated institutions have formed the Target ALS Postmortem Tissue Core, and include the following: Barrow Neurological Institute/Saint Joseph’s Hospital in PhoenixColumbia University in New YorkGeorgetown University in Washington D.C.Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and University of California at San Diego. All biofluids collected will undergo genetic analyses care of The New York Genome Center; the results of which will be made available on an international network for research access.

The newly launched Target ALS Postmortem Tissue Core is the first collaborative effort to gather and archive high-quality post-portem tissue samples for research, and has received investments worth $1.04 million to date. Now that Target ALS has expanded its efforts to include pre-mortem tissue, researchers from all over the globe can open more doors that could lead to a cure for ALS.

“The studies that will be made possible by the addition of biofluids to the Tissue Core have the potential to deepen the understanding of the ALS disease process and, through discovery of new biomarkers linked to specific aspects of the disease, accelerate the search for new treatments,” said ALS Association Chief Scientist Lucie Bruijn, Ph.D., M.B.A. “We are very pleased to be partnering with Target ALS on this important initiative.”

“This partnership has created a first-of-its-kind resource to lower the barriers for, and accelerate the pace of translational research in ALS.  Target ALS is delighted to partner with The ALS Association on this much-needed initiative,” said Target ALS Executive Director Manish Raisinghani, M.D., Ph.D.

Genervon Biopharmaceuticals has recently announced that one if its lead products, GM604, was able to regulate the levels of a protein called TDP-43 and slow disease progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. GM604 developed is suggested to restore neuronal health by regulating TDP-43 levels back to normal when its concentration is either above or below normal ranges. The drug was tested on patients suffering from ALS and the results of a Phase 2A clinical trial showed that it is able to regulate numerous protein biomarkers including lowering TDP-43 levels back to normal ranges.