The ALS Association

Ice Bucket Challenge Progress

ALS Scientists and Experts to Collaborate During Drug Discovery Workshop

March 4, 2012

The ALS Association will host an international scientific workshop, “Drug Discovery for ALS: Opportunities and Challenges,” in Washington, D.C., March 4 – 7, 2012.  More than 130 people whose organizations specialize in ALS research and related fields will attend this event.  Participants include those from government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).  Other attendees consist of individuals from global biotech firms, academic institutions and non-profit organizations committed to ALS research and related disorder.

The goal of this international  workshop is to identify key barriers and enablers for translating findings in basic research into the clinic for ALS.  It is an opportunity for clinical and scientific leaders in industry and academia in neurodegeneration to share their findings and discuss the future directions and opportunities for ALS drug discovery. This workshop also provides an opportunity for academic scientists new to the field of drug discovery to have a global vision on drug development and to learn how basic research can be translated into a marketable drug.

This three-day workshop begins with a keynote address from Chris Austin of the National Institutes of Health.  Austin will discuss ALS translational research opportunities at NIH. 

Other highlights from the conference include:

  • Overview presentations from Leonard van den Berg, M.D., Bryan Traynor, M.D., and Don Cleveland, Ph.D., who will describe the clinical aspects of the disease, the genetics of sporadic and ALS, and disease mechanisms of ALS.
  • Presentations exploring known and novel targets for ALS including Johns Hopkins University’s Jeffrey Rothstein, M.D., Ph.D., on “Oligodendrocytes as Targets for Disease in ALS” and Douglas Wallace, Ph.D., on the role of mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases on March 6.
  • On March 5, Russell Katz of the FDA will discuss “Perspectives from FDA for ALS Discovery and Clinical Trials.”
  • Industry representatives from Biogen-Idec, Bristol Myers Squibb, iPierian, Ossianix, Johnson and Johnson and Isis Pharmaceuticals will provide their perspectives on drug discovery opportunities for ALS on March 5.
  • Presentations on novel screening approaches for potential new treatments and updates on ongoing trials.
  • Panel sessions focusing on industry-academic partnerships and opportunities and challenges for biomarker discovery in ALS.

Along with The ALS Association, the following organizations are sponsoring the workshop: The ALS Society of Canada, the ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter, The Alan Phillips Discovery Awards, Biogen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Cytokinetics, Isis, Knopp, NINDS and Pfizer.

Detailed information about this event will be available on our Website after the conference concludes.

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