The MDA And The ALS Association Join Forces To Advance ALS Research

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by Isaura Santos |

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The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and the ALS Association teamed up to fund a research project with a goal to find a potential therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’sDisease). Both associations are nonprofit institutions committed to find cures and treatments for ALS, and to provide services to those suffering the debilitating consequences of this fatal disease.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the spinal cord and in the brain. People affected with ALS lose their ability to control muscles ending up paralyzed and causes, eventually, their death.

Thanks to the viral movement of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” and to altruism of the the Major League Baseball, $240,000 was awarded to James Shorter, Ph.D., a molecular biologist from the University of Pennsylvania. His research is focused on breaking the protein clumps that are formed around nerve cells in these patients that suffer with ALS. His work offers a deeper understanding of how these protein clusters behave, and may hold the key to possibly finding more effective treatments, if not, a cure for ALS.

“We’re proud to partner with The ALS Association in support of this innovative research, which could provide critical understanding and new therapeutic possibilities to help those fighting ALS. As part of our mission to save and improve lives of those with neuromuscular diseases, we’ve maintained a major focus on funding ALS research and services since the 1950s. We’re determined to strengthen that crucial commitment as we join forces with The ALS Association, working together to accelerate research progress to arrive at definitive therapeutic solutions to benefit those with ALS, their families and caregivers,” said Valerie Cwik, M.D., as it can be read in a press release.

Lucie Bruijn, Ph.D., from The ALS Association added: “We are pleased to work with MDA to fund these studies, which will provide greater insight into the disease process and also offer possible new therapies for ALS.”

In July, $300,000 was awarded to four institutions focused on finding treatments and cures for ALS; right before the enormous “ice-water-over-your-head” initiative.