Experts call for formation of ALS Biomarker Consortium
The request came as the result of a review penned by the group -- it has been lauded by ALS Association officials.
“The ALS Association has invested significant funds towards the development of biomarkers for ALS and will continue its commitment by investing further funds to establish the ALS Biomarker Consortium and seeks dedicated involvement from all stakeholders,” Dr. Lucie Bruijn, the ALS Association's chief scientist, said.
The review, “ALS Biomarkers for Therapy Development: State of the Field and Future Directions,” gives details about biomarker development. Biomarkers are a tool used to observe and record ALS progression. The consortium would be made up of members dedicated to finding treatments -- and possibly a cure -- for ALS.
“This is an opportune time for the establishment an ALS Biomarker Consortium that includes all relevant stakeholders," according to the review. "If it is to succeed, the structure and governance of this consortium must recognize and accommodate the complexity of the ALS research landscape, including the number and diversity of stakeholders who may often have competing interests."
ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, which leads to total paralysis and death -- usually two to five years post-diagnosis. There is only one U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medication to treat the disease; the therapy does little more than moderately extend a patient's survival.
Brujin was one of the review's authors. The group also included Dr. Michael Benatar, of the University of Miami; Dr. Kevin Boylan, of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida; Dr. Andreas Jeromin, of Iron Horse Diagnostics in Phoenix; Dr. Seward Rutkove, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston; and Dr. James Berry and Dr. Nazem Atassi, both of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Organizations in this story
ALS Association 1275 K Street Northwest Washington, DC - 20005