Contact:
Carrie Munk
The ALS Association
(571) 319-3047
cmunk@alsa-national.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The ALS Association and the American Academy of Neurology Name Clinical Research Training Fellow

Washington, D.C. (April 22, 2015) — The ALS Association and the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) are pleased to announce that Hristelina Ilieva, M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md., is this year’s recipient for the Clinical Research Training Fellowship. The fellowship is supported by The Association’s ALS Research Institute. The purpose of the award is to recruit talented and promising young clinicians who propose innovative clinical research and to foster their development to make significant contributions to ALS clinical research.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two-to-five years of diagnosis. There is no cure and no life-prolonging treatments for the disease.

Dr. Ilieva’s research will examine a group of proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in people with ALS due to mutation in the C9orf72 gene, the most common genetic cause of ALS. The proteins to be studied include the so-called RAN peptides, which are unique products of the gene mutation, as well as other disease-related proteins that may be found in other forms of ALS as well. By characterizing the relative amounts, distribution, and life cycles of these proteins, Dr. Ilieva’s work will contribute to the development of accurate biomarkers for disease onset, severity, progression and response to therapy. Such biomarkers are critical for advancing clinical trials of ALS treatments.

Dr. Ilieva will work under the mentorship of Jeffrey Rothstein, M.D., Ph.D., one of the leading researchers in the field of ALS biology. “Dr. Ilieva is simply an outstanding neurologist as well as a neuroscientist,” said Dr. Rothstein. Prior to beginning her work at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Ilieva performed research in the labs of two other prominent ALS researchers, Don Cleveland, Ph.D., at the University of California at San Diego, and Stanley Appel, M.D., at Methodist Hospital Neurological Institute in Houston, Texas.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity that the Clinical Research Training Fellowship brings,” Dr. Ilieva said. “With the help of the award, I hope to acquire new skills and knowledge that will allow me to become a stronger clinician scientist. At the end of the day, we are all indebted to the patients with ALS. Their courage in fighting this disease is a strong motivator for me and the people I work with to do our best.”

About The ALS Association
The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig ’s Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit our website at www.alsa.org.

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