MDA and Target ALS Foundation have announced a partnership aimed at advancing ALS research and therapy development. Through the partnership, the two organizations will work together to support talented young scientists who choose to pursue a career devoted to ALS research.
The partnership represents a key step in MDA’s commitment to form strategic alliances with for- and non-profit organizations in order to speed the search for treatments and cures for all the diseases in its program.
“MDA is strategic in our efforts to pursue collaborative partnerships, and we’re excited to align with Target ALS Foundation to advance our common goal of supporting the young ALS researchers today who will make the breakthroughs of tomorrow,” said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. “By uniting and working together, we can make certain young scientists at this pivotal stage in their careers have all the resources necessary to advance their research, facilitate discovery and make the greatest impact in the lives of individuals and families with ALS.”
Through its discovery research program, MDA awards Development Grants to promising young post-doctoral fellows who are making the transition toward an independent academic career. These three-year awards total $60,000 per year and provide fellows with the support they need to craft and execute an independent research project that can boost their career to the next level.
Target ALS has launched core facilities that enable ALS researchers access to human postmortem tissue, human stem cells and viral vectors (delivery vehicles for therapeutic genes). Access to tissue and stem cells from human patients is critical to allow researchers to compare laboratory findings from culture or rodent models to the pathological mechanisms that occur in the human disease. As part of the collaborative effort to support young ALS investigators, Target ALS will extend access to its core facilities to MDA’s development grantees focused on ALS research, allowing these individuals to advance their research projects and encouraging them to pursue careers within the ALS research field.
“Target ALS is pleased to partner with MDA to expand access of its core facilities to talented young ALS investigators. This partnership is an extension of our core mission to lower barriers for ALS research and ensure that critical tools are available to fast-track the best ideas for development of ALS therapeutics” said Manish Raisinghani, MBBS, Ph.D., President of Target ALS Foundation Inc.
Importantly, the partnership will help to fill both the therapy development pipeline and the need for talented researchers in the ALS field.