TORONTO, May 2, 2013 /CNW/ - Years of steadfast Canadian commitment to
advancing high-risk, high-potential research pays new dividends in the
fight against ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Canadian
scientists are major players on the international scene in terms of
discoveries, productivity, collaborations in clinical trials and
contributions to science. Based on peer-reviewed publications per
capita, Canadian scientists are leaders in the G8.
From May 4-6, international researchers and members of the Canadian ALS
research community will share new findings at the ALS Canada Research
Forum. The research ranges from gene discovery to clinical trials. By
expanding the scientific community and taking advantage of new
technologies, the pace of discovery has increased exponentially. Recent
Gene Discovery and Therapy
"Our discovery of a new gene responsible for hereditary ALS will impact
the way the disease is studied worldwide," said Dr. Michael Strong,
Dean and distinguished university professor, Schulich School of
Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario. "It will
help us understand why motor neurons die in people with ALS."
During the forum, Dr. Cristian Droppelmann, of Dr. Strong's laboratory,
will present how the gene's impact on motor neurons is now a target for
potential therapies and changing clinical practices.
Dr. Charles Krieger, an ALS clinician at Vancouver Coastal Health and
associate professor at Simon Fraser University, is examining a novel
method for ALS gene therapy. By replacing bone marrow cells with new
cells containing potentially protective genes, he hopes the natural
response of the body to transport these cells to the site of disease
will lead to protective effects. Dr. Kyle Peake, a postdoctoral
researcher in the Krieger lab, will present a poster at the forum. He
has recently received a fellowship from ALS Canada to continue this
"The Canadian ALS Research Network, an alliance of ALS clinics across
Canada known as CALS, has recently expanded both the number and scope
of clinical trials for our clients," said Dr. Angela Genge, ALS Clinic
Director, Montréal Neurological Institute. "For the first time ever,
CALS will be conducting at least three multi-centre trials of
experimental treatments. Two of these are high-profile multi-national
Dr. Lorne Zinman of the Sunnybrook Research Institute is the CALS
director. Through the growth of of clinical trials in Canada, the
network is hopeful they will uncover additional pathways and novel
therapies to treat ALS.
Dr. Lawrence Korngut of the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry is
mediating a session on best clinical practices. He coins CALS an
international model for collaboration in research, and a tool for
expanding ALS clinical studies.
Last year, ALS Canada flowed approximately $1.6 million to support
multiple research projects in Canada. "Through the support of thousands
of Canadians we have continued our commitment to find better treatments
and ultimately a cure for those living with ALS," said Lindee David,
CEO, ALS Canada.
About ALS Canada
ALS Canada, founded in 1977, is the only national voluntary health
organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS and support for
those with ALS. It is the leading not-for-profit organization working
nationwide to fund ALS research and, with the Provincial ALS Societies,
is working to improve the quality of life for Canadians affected by
ALS. ALS is a rapidly progressing terminal disease that can affect any
person at any age. To learn more about ALS, please visit www.als.ca.
SOURCE: ALS Canada
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