June 22, 2020 (Huntsville, Ala.) – The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has been awarded a grant for $20,000 from the ALS Association to continue a collaborative clinical research project, Impacting ALS, with Crestwood Medical Center.
The goal of Impacting ALS is to identify genetic variants, or changes, that contribute to ALS. ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. As many as 20,000 Americans live with ALS and 15 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. every day.
“Hopefully, in understanding some of the biology behind ALS, we’ll be able to understand different avenues of how this disease happens, what causes it, and eventually, be able to find targets that can be useful for therapeutics and different treatments,” said Richard M. Myers, PhD, HudsonAlpha President and Science Director, M.A. Loya Faculty Chair in Genomics. “We are grateful to work with Crestwood and ALS patients right here in Huntsville for this project.”
The project enrolls patients from the Crestwood ALS Care Clinic, the only ALS Association Treatment Center of Excellence in the state of Alabama. The center is led by co-medical directors David White, MD, and Aruna Arora, MD. To date, Impacting ALS has enrolled and returned results to nearly 50 patients in and around North Alabama.
“Crestwood is proud to have strong relationships with the ALS Chapter and our patients who are battling ALS,” said Pam Hudson, MD, Crestwood Medical Center Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited to collaborate with HudsonAlpha on this project to better understand and treat this disease which will allow us to help improve the quality of life for ALS patients.”
The Crestwood ALS Care Clinic is also a Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) site. The mission of NEALS is to rapidly translate scientific advances into clinical research and new treatments for people with ALS and motor neuron disease.
“Our mission is to connect those living with ALS to research,” said Sherry Kolodziejczak, occupational therapist and ALS Care Clinic Director. “The collaboration between Crestwood ALS Care Clinic and HudsonAlpha has provided the opportunity to bring research to our local community.”
ALS patient Bryan Stone of Sylacauga, Ala., a NEALS ambassador for the Crestwood ALS Care Clinic, is happy to see that research is happening right here in Huntsville.
“As a person with ALS, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to participate in a collaborative study in Huntsville between HudsonAlpha and Crestwood ALS Clinic of Excellence. Most trials and studies are conducted more than four hours from north Alabama and as our ALS progresses, travel becomes difficult. This study allows us to participate and to engage in a research project where we are informed of our genetic results. Again, thank you HudsonAlpha and Crestwood ALS Clinic of Excellence for this opportunity.”
The recent grant will allow additional patients to enroll in the project. Through this project, HudsonAlpha scientists will apply their genomics expertise to better understand ALS in the hopes of finding better treatment options.
“Thank you to the ALS Association and many other generous donors,” said Elizabeth Herrin, Director of External Relations. “This project which is helping us advance our understanding of the disease and make meaningful contributions to ALS research would not be possible without the support.”
To continue to help patients and families with ALS, donations may be made at hudsonalpha.org/donate or to the HudsonAlpha Foundation at 601 Genome Way, NW, Huntsville, AL 35806.
About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Opened in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. The state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education and fosters more than 40 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit hudsonalpha.org.