It's hard to believe that we are already midway through 2021! Thanks to your support, it's been an exciting year for research at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), and we are encouraged by the progress that our science team has continued to make.
We are proud to be able to share some of the highlights of our research thus far, as well as provide a glimpse of what's to come!
- In March the ALS TDI lab moved to our new location in Watertown, MA. Our new state-of-the-art 16,000 square foot space has been customized to foster efficiency and collaboration, and to accommodate our comprehensive strategy to end ALS. In this space, under this one roof, our preclinical, clinical, and translational research teams continue to work relentlessly to end ALS. Explore the new lab.
- In April, our board announced the appointment Dr. Fernando Vieira to the role of CEO at ALS TDI. In addition to his 20 years of experience researching ALS treatments, Dr. Vieira brings a personal connection and passion to the role. Under Dr. Vieira’s leadership, our science team is continuing to accelerate promising ALS research. You can read his letter to the community here.
- Throughout 2021, our research team has been rigorously working to further unlock the potential of our 2020 discovery of a previously unexplored drug target for C9ORF72-mediated ALS, type-I PRMTs. We are working to invent new drugs targeted at PRMTs, optimizing animal models for drug screening, and exploring the relevance of this discovery in other forms of ALS. Read the latest update on this research here.
- In addition to drug target discovery, our scientists have discovered a related collection of drug-like molecules that are protective against cell death in both iPS cells and in the leading animal model of ALS. In the coming months they will perform tests to identify the most promising lead molecules for advancement.
- In May, ALS TDI announced a partnership with Dr. Rick Bedlack and the Duke ALS Clinic. Through this partnership we will enroll people who represent the very rare instances of ALS symptomatic reversals into the Precision Medicine Program (PMP), with the goal of learning more about the underlying biological pathways that may be protective and using this understanding to inform treatment discovery and development. Learn more here.
- In addition, we are continuing to collaborate with Google to apply a voice scoring algorithm to voice recordings contributed by PMP participants. The algorithm scores will be shared with each participant to give them a numerical measure of their own speech wellness.
All of this amazing work would not be possible without the support of the ALS community.
In the coming months, we look forward to sharing exciting ALS TDI research updates with you, including:
- Progress on our C9orf72 research
- Voice data findings from our research partnership with Google
- Next steps in our biomarker research
- Updates on our collaboration with Duke to understand rare ALS reversals
Learn more about our research and read our latest news at https://www.als.net/als-research/.