MDA, ALSA Co-Fund 'Clump-Busting' Research in ALS

by Margaret Wahl on Wed, 2014-12-03 14:09

MDA has joined forces with the ALS Association to fight ALS through a grant to James Shorter at the University of Pennsylvania

Article Highlights:
  • MDA and ALSA will co-fund James Shorter at the University of Pennsylvania, who is studying the therapeutic potential of breaking up clumps of proteins often found in the cells of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
  • The $240,000 was made possible in part by Major League Baseball’s commitment to ALS research and this summer’s viral ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge.”

MDA has joined forces with the ALS Association (ALSA) to fund a new research project aimed at finding a potential therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The two organizations have made a $240,000 award to molecular biologist James Shorter at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Shorter also has an existing MDA grant for related research.

His work is focused on potentially toxic protein clumps that often occur in nerve cells in patients with ALS, and his team will develop compounds to target and break up these clumps. The studies are designed both to enhance basic understanding of protein clumping in ALS and to determine whether targeting this process holds therapeutic potential.

Major League Baseball, Ice Bucket Challenge made grant possible

The new grant was made possible in part by Major League Baseball’s commitment to ALS research and this summer’s viral ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge.”

In July, Major League Baseball celebrated the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s famed “Luckiest Man” speech by collectively awarding $300,000 to four organizations dedicated to finding treatments and cures for ALS. Soon after, the country was taken by storm when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral prompting millions to take part in the “ice-water-over-your-head” initiative and donate to ALS organizations.   

“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,” said neurologist Valerie Cwik, M.D., MDA's chief medical and scientific officer.

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