In very powerful testimony, members of the ALS community asked members of Congress to ensure the FDA acts with greater speed and regulatory flexibility during a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.
As part of this year’s National Advocacy Conference, Dr. Bryan Traynor, senior investigator and chief of neuromuscular diseases at the NIH’s National Institute on Aging presented a case study to the ALS community to help better understand what we know today and what we are working toward for the future relating to genetics and prevention. ALS prevention has not only been a priority for Traynor, but for the ALS community at large.
Dr. Lauren Gittings, whose award was made possible directly through funds provided by The ALS Association Oregon and SW Washington Chapter, is a postdoctoral fellow from the Sattler Lab at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. We recently spoke with Lauren to learn more about her and her unique project focused on identifying cellular and molecular changes that underlie cognitive impairment in ALS patients carrying the C9orf72 (C9) repeat expansion mutation.
We recently talked with Dr. Sonia Vazquez-Sanchez, postdoctoral fellow from the Cleveland Lab at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of California at San Diego to learn about her unique research focused on RNA binding protein TDP-43 and its effects on ALS.
Following our We Can’t Wait Action meeting with the FDA, we sent a letter to the agency asking it to reaffirm its commitment to the 2019 ALS Guidance and provide us with a detailed report showing how it has implemented the guidance. This week, the ALS Association received a response from Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Investigators at Emory University School of Medicine reviewed 23 years of data from 1997-2020 for patients seen at the Emory ALS Center. To allow for adequate analysis of disease survival time, researchers included all patients who self-reported their race as Black or White and symptom onset was before January 1, 2017. A total of 1,298 patients were included in the study, 203 of whom were Black, and 1,095 of whom were White.
People with ALS on Tuesday called on the FDA to use its existing authority and the flexibility it promised the ALS community it would use to make experimental drugs that show incremental benefits available as quickly as possible. The comments came in a “We Can’t Wait” Action Meeting with FDA organized by The ALS Association.
We are deeply grateful to the eight speakers who shared their wisdom and personal experience with the FDA, as well as the more than 150 others from the community who have done so online. We continue to hear that people with ALS want effective treatments now, even if they offer modest benefit, and are willing to face considerable uncertainty and risk to do so.
Later this month, the ALS Association will host a virtual session focused on the urgent need for timely access to new therapies. Leaders from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and industry companies will listen to people living with ALS speak directly about their expectations for their experiences with the disease and how important it is to have timely access to therapies that have the potential to provide incremental benefit in improving how people feel, function and live.
Dr. Jan Veldink is receiving the award in recognition of his contribution to ALS epidemiology and genetics which have led to important novel discoveries including several new ALS risk genes. He has established a research line on ALS genetics, epidemiology and transcriptomics and has a proven track record in both array-based and sequencing technology. In addition, he has established an international biobanking register and patient database specifically for ALS, which is essential to be able to carry out Project MinE.
The ALS Association, in partnership with The CReATe Consortium, is proud to announce a new request for applications (RFA) to support the discovery and/or validation of biomarkers for ALS, a third grant funding opportunity now available to researchers seeking to find new treatments and a cure.
In a study funded in part by The ALS Association’s TREAT ALS program, researchers from Northwestern University have identified the first compound (NU-9) that eliminates the ongoing degeneration of diseased upper motor neurons, a key contributor to ALS. While this news is exciting, this study has only tested the compound in mice and in laboratory neurons and is in the very early stages.
ALS Focus recently launched its third survey, gathering data from ALS caregivers to identify the unique needs and challenges of ALS caregiving. Responses to this survey will help translate the caregiver experience into action and influence ALS programs and policy decisions. ALS Focus Director Dr. Sarah Parvanta detailed the questions her team is asking in the current survey during a recent episode of Connecting ALS. A portion of that conversation has been edited and condensed below.
Connecting ALS recently sat down with Dr. Ericka Greene, Director of the Neuromuscular Clinic Houston Methodist Stanley H. Appel Department of Neurology to learn more about her personal experience working in ALS research and growing up in the STEM field to understand this trend from her perspective.
Despite the many challenges caused by COVID-19 this past year, ALS research made strides toward finding effective treatments for ALS. As 2020 winds down, we wanted to share an update from our partners at Biogen on some of their ongoing research projects.