ALS Association Awards Over $1.95M to 5 Projects Advancing Research and Therapies

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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ALS potential drug therapy

The ALS Association has announced the five winners of its Translational Research Advancing Therapy for ALS (TREAT ALS) grant awards, advancing research projects into improved treatments and, eventually, a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. There are two types of grants — TREAT ALS Drug Development Contract and ALS Association-Initiated — which total more than $1.95 million.

According to the organization, The TREAT ALS portfolio is a diverse collection of research projects focused on developing therapies, given the great need for more effective ALS treatments.

“Drug development contracts are milestone-driven awards designed to rapidly bring the most promising potential therapies closer to clinical trials. Many of the contracts are in partnership with industry. Academic-industry partnerships are invaluable to drive treatment approaches for ALS more rapidly to the clinic,” the association said in a press release.

The $424,725 Drug Development Grant went to David Rodman, MD, at miRagen Therapeutics, in Boulder, Colorado, and to Howard Weiner, MD, at the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, to support 12 months of research into the use of anti-miR-155 therapy.

The ALS Association-Initiated Awards will support four different projects:

  • Raymond Roos, MD, University of Chicago, received $120,000 over 12 months for research targeting unfolded protein response in mutant SOD1-induced ALS.
  • J. Paul Taylor, MD, and Jinghui Zhang, PhD, both with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, and Michael Benatar, MD, PhD, from the University of Miami, will share a 60-month, $835,937 award  to investigate the whole genome sequencing of patients and families with deeply phenotyped ALS and related disorders.
  • John Landers, PhD, UMass Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Cathleen Lutz, PhD, MBA, from The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine, will investigate the development and characterization of ALS mouse models under a 12-month $469,678 award.
  • Eliahu Heldman, PhD, Lauren Sciences LLC, New York, received a $100,000 12-month grant for a project on targeted delivery of GDNF to motor neurons using novel V-Smart nanovesicles.

“ALS Association-Initiated awards support collaborative projects that address research gaps, areas of high risk-high reward and/or areas that provide novel opportunities. Investigators submit proposals for peer review in topics that The ALS Association and its advisors determine as priority areas of research,” the organization noted in its release.

Full descriptions of the projects can be found here, and The ALS Association’s ongoing call for abstracts for upcoming grant awards is available here.