ALS ACT is a novel academic-foundation-industry partnership with ALS Finding a Cure®, initiated with researchers from General Electric (GE) Healthcare and four academic Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) sites, to accelerate the development of new treatments for people living with ALS.
The ALS Association committed $10 million to the project in October 2014 that directly resulted from donations from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. ALS Finding a Cure matched this commitment by investing an additional $10 million. Through a multi-pronged approach, each partner has contributed to improving diagnosis, accelerating the development of new treatments and removing roadblocks to finding a cure for ALS.
Efforts undertaken as part of this initiative include:
- Developing neuroimaging tools as potential ALS biomarkers, a key unmet need in clinical trials.
- Identifying ways to decrease the production of misfolded proteins and reversing neuroinflammation, two major contributors to the disease process.
- Supporting NeuroBANK, a patient-centric clinical research platform that helps facilitate the capture and aggregation of clinical and clinical research data from simultaneously running research projects and links these data with biospecimen repositories, image banks and genetic information.
- Supporting the NEALS Sample Repository, which stores samples collected from study participants (e.g., blood, cerebral spinal fluid, extracted DNA, urine, etc.) and makes them available to ALS researchers.
- Supporting phase IIA pilot clinical trials with relevant biomarkers aimed at developing novel ALS treatments.
- Supporting a gene therapy study by Robert Brown, M.D., Ph.D., that used viruses to deliver gene therapy agents targeted at mutated ALS genes.
- Supporting a TDP-43 PET Tracer Grant Challenge to generate a TDP-43 biomarker to track TDP-43 aggregation, which was awarded to Timothy Miller, M.D., Ph.D.