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TREAT ALS Builds on Concrete Research Progress by The ALS Association

The ALS Association is committed to funding a diverse portfolio of research. A willingness to take risks brings researchers down new avenues. Some may prove to be dead ends. But all the routes to discovery explored in the past decade have produced evident progress in our understanding of the disease, progress that deserves to be brought rapidly into the clinic. The Association has therefore launched a major new initiative to prioritize and bring promising compounds into clinical trials in a focused approach called Translational Research Advancing Therapy for ALS, or TREAT ALS.

ALS Association funding programs

Traditional funding by The ALS Association is similar to the granting process of the National Institutes of Health. Investigators submit a proposed line of inquiry, and a scientific review board convened by The Association debates the merits of each proposal. The best are funded in two rounds of decisions each year. An example of this kind of investigator initiated research is the work of Lee Martin. By funding this type of investigation The Association has enabled concrete strides towards gene and stem cell therapies.

In addition, The ALS Association encourages bright young investigators to enter the field, through postdoctoral fellowships such as The Milton Safenowitz Post-Doctoral Fellowship for ALS Research. These fellowships provide post-doctoral students with the opportunity to stand at the forefront of ALS research and partner with the best scientific minds (Refer to the initial glutamate report and  the VGEF article for more information.) 

An initiative begun in the year 2000 has meanwhile steered established investigators into the field of ALS research. The goal of these ALSA-initiated grants was to design assays, create models, and find biomarkers that can uncover promising therapeutics (see biomarker study). An example of The Association’s efforts to direct experts into the field of ALS is Richard Morimoto’s work to devise a worm that manifests aspects of the ALS disease process.


Treat Logo

The TREAT ALS initiative is now engaged to accelerate the process of identifying new drugs. A new call for pilot clinical research proposals has gone out. The ALS Association is partnering with government agencies and drug and biotech companies to prioritize and test potential therapeutics, and will work with leading scientists to shepherd these compounds through the clinical trials process (click here for more information). Through TREAT ALS, more drugs will enter the clinical testing arena more rapidly, to produce the sought after progress toward effective therapeutics.




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