Major League Baseball’s Commitment to Fighting ALS and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Spurs Funding
December 3, 2014
The ALS Association and Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) have joined forces to fund a research project aimed at finding a potential therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Both nonprofits are focused on finding treatments and cures for ALS and providing services for those affected with the debilitating, fatal disease.
The $240,000 award to molecular biologist James Shorter, Ph.D., of Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania was made possible in part by Major League Baseball’s commitment to ALS research and this summer’s viral ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge.”
Shorter’s research is focused on breaking up toxic protein clumps that often occur in nerve cells in patients with ALS. His team will develop compounds to target and break up these clumps. The studies are designed both to enhance basic understanding of protein clumping in ALS and to determine whether targeting this process holds therapeutic potential.
“We’re proud to partner with The ALS Association in support of this innovative research, which could provide critical understanding and new therapeutic possibilities to help those fighting ALS,” said MDA Executive Vice President and Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Valerie Cwik, M.D. “As part of our mission to save and improve lives of those with neuromuscular diseases, we’ve maintained a major focus on funding ALS research and services since the 1950s. We’re determined to strengthen that crucial commitment as we join forces with The ALS Association, working together to accelerate research progress to arrive at definitive therapeutic solutions to benefit those with ALS, their families and caregivers.”
“We are pleased to work with MDA to fund these studies, which will provide greater insight into the disease process and also offer possible new therapies for ALS,” said Lucie Bruijn, Ph.D., M.B.A., Chief Scientist, The ALS Association.
In July, MLB celebrated the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s famed “Luckiest Man” speech by collectively awarding $300,000 to four organizations dedicated to finding treatments and cures for ALS. Soon after, the country was taken by storm when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral prompting millions to take part in the “ice-water-over-your-head” initiative and donate to ALS organizations.