The ALS Association
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Progress

2017 Fellowship Recipients

The 2017 awardee of the Clinical Research Training Fellowship in ALS Research is Dr. Nicolas Olney from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine under the mentorship of Drs. Howard Rosen, Cathy Lomen-Hoerth and Bruce Miller.

Project Summary:


My project will be using a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that provides a unique way to look at the gray and white of the spinal cord. We are looking for a pattern within ALS spinal cords that may be associated with specific symptoms and could help aid in early diagnosis, especially in areas where the electromyography (EMG) (i.e. needle test) may be more difficult. We are currently working to prove that this technique shows a difference between an ALS spinal cord and a normal spinal cord and are recruiting people with ALS who can lie down flat and tolerate an MRI. Once this is proven, we plan to look at people with early ALS and gene carriers that are at risk for ALS. We will also be exploring a new blood biomarker, called neurofilament, to see if this can help predict severity of disease. If proven, this technique could be used in clinical trials to gauge effectiveness of ALS treatments. One of the ultimate goals of biomarkers is to identify the disease as early as possible, so treatments can be employed as early as possible to stop disease progression.

"I am honored to have received the Clinical Research Training Fellowship from The ALS Association and AAN. This will give me protected time to further my research in trying to discover ALS biomarkers."

Get to know Dr. Olney and hear about his exciting research here:

The 2017 awardee of the Clinician-Scientist Development Award in ALS Research is Dr. Sabrina Paganoni from Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Rehab Hospital.

Project Summary:


The project is a clinical trial of inosine for people living with ALS. When patients take inosine, their urate levels go up. Urate is a natural antioxidant present in the body and may help counteract oxidative stress. We and other researchers have analyzed ALS databases and found that people with ALS who have higher urate levels live longer. However, we don’t know if drugs, such as inosine, that raise urate levels result in improved outcomes, such as better quality of life or longer lifespan. This trial is our first step in answering this question.

"I am honored to have received this Award. The award comes at a critical time in my career when I am starting new projects, generating data, and applying for funding to become an established investigator. This award will allow me to dedicate the next few years to ALS clinical trials, while still continuing to see ALS patients in the clinic."

Read more about her exciting project:

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