The effort to find new treatments for ALS got a big boost recently when the ALS Association awarded two drug development contracts worth $998,500.
The agreements will fund preclinical development of new therapeutic strategies that target disease-related pathways in the central nervous system, the ALS Association said.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, attacks nerve
cells in the brain and spinal cord, progressively causing the loss of muscle control and leading to paralysis and death within two to
five years of diagnosis, on average.
One of the recipients is OptiKira LLC of Cleveland, which will focus on a way to block the creation of a protein that
triggers cell death pathways in ALS patients. Similar work has prolonged survival in animal models that
also experience programmed cell death. The ALS Association is giving OptiKira $498,500
over two years.
The other recipient, Thomas Lloyd of Johns Hopkins
University, will receive $500,000 over two years to test nuclear export
inhibitors for treating a mutation that is the most common genetic cause of ALS.
Similar treatments have demonstrated
promising results in animal models of traumatic brain injury.
“We are excited to be able to fund these important projects
in new therapeutic strategies,” Lucie Bruijn, chief scientist at the ALS
Association, said. “Through our Lawrence and Isabel Drug Development Program,
we are able to bring the most promising new ideas in therapy development
quickly through the preclinical phase, to more rapidly advance the best ones
into clinical trials. That is the key to getting new treatments for ALS, which
we so desperately need.”
ALS research gets million-dollar boost
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