Principle Investigators: James Berry MD, Nazem Atassi MD & Merit Cudkowicz MD
The exact cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis remains unknown, and there are no tests to diagnose the disease or follow its progression. Such tests, known as biomarkers, would be invaluable to speed the development of novel therapies for ALS. In recent years, ALS scientists have begun to identify promising potential biomarkers in the blood and spinal fluid of people with the disease. The next step to build on these discoveries, in many cases, is to test larger numbers of biofluid samples to confirm the findings.
Biorepository Infrastructure Improvement
The Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) biorepository is a collection of biological samples, including blood and spinal fluid obtained from people with and without ALS or a related motor neuron disorder, which was created more than ten years ago as a resource for scientists conducting research in ALS. The biorepository is a centrally managed collection of samples that is shared freely among researchers. And, while the NEALS biorepository has facilitated the collection and distribution of thousands of research specimens, it holds promise to yield even more benefit as it grows.
The project also supports two projects that will expand the biorepository by collecting new biosamples from people with ALS and controls. The first is a continuation of the largest effort globally to collect longitudinal spinal fluid samples, blood, and clinical information from people with ALS. The second is a large-scale blood collection that will include clinician-researchers and ALS patients who have not previously had access to participation in ALS research protocols.