According to a story from med.miami.edu, an international research consortium known as Clinical Research in ALS and Related Disorders for Therapeutic Development (CReATe) has just been awarded a renewal grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (part of the National Institutes of Health). This grant is valued at $7.9 million and is expected to provide funding for five years. The cash will allow for the continuance of research from an international team of experts that have made meaningful progress in learning more about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
About Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rare, degenerative disease that causes the death of nerve cells associated with the voluntary muscles. Little is known about the origins of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, with no definitive cause in about 95 percent of cases. The remaining five percent appear to inherit the disease from their parents. Symptoms initially include loss of coordination, muscle weakness and atrophy, muscle stiffness and cramping, and trouble speaking, breathing, or swallowing. These symptoms worsen steadily over time; most patients die because of respiratory complications. Treatment is mostly symptomatic and the medication riluzole can prolong life. Life expectancy after diagnosis ranges from two to four years, but some patients can survive for substantially longer. To learn more about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, click here.
Supporting Critical Research
The consortium’s ultimate goal is to further the development of new treatments for this disease as well as several other related disorders. An essential part of the organization’s work towards this goal has been related to researching useful biomarkers for the disease. Biomarkers are critical for measuring the impact of medications and predicting disease progression. The use of biomarkers are essential for effective clinical trial design and will allow for an increased rate of development for potential therapies.
The group has also been investigating the genetic characteristics of the disease, hoping to draw connections between different genetic signatures and variations in the presentation of the disorder. In addition, the consortium is also involved in a training program for clinical investigators and has built many strong partnerships with related advocacy groups. The continued work of CReATe will play a critical role in improving treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients.