Target ALS recently announced funding for four consortia of academic and industry investigators to pursue projects focused on ALS biomarker discovery and development. Two of the four groups include researchers from the Healey Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital.

AC Immune's high-sensitivity biofluid assays for detection of TDP-43 as an ALS biomarker

The first grant goes to research to be conducted by Ruth Luthi-Carter, PhD from AC Immune along with Mass General researchers Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili, PhD; Clotilde Lagier-Tourenne, MD, PhD; Steven Arnold, MD; James Berry, MD, MPH and Becky C. Carlyle, PhD. The group will investigate non-invasive ways of measuring the accumulation of abnormal forms of the Transactive Response DNA-Binding Protein (TDP-43). The grant will accelerate development of novel antibody-based tests into robust assays suitable for use in ALS clinics and trials. Planned studies under this grant will evaluate the ability of AC Immune’s antibodies to identify ALS, correlate with disease evolution and predict clinical progression.

Neuron-derived exosomes as a biomarker platform for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

A second grant goes to Erez Eitan, PhD from NeuroDex, Sabrina Paganoni, MD, PhD from the Healey Center, and Jeff Rothstein, MD, PhD from Johns Hopkins University. They will investigate the diagnostic use of Neuron-Derived Extracellular vesicles (NDEs) as an innovative liquid biopsy option with a high potential to generate novel diagnostic, prognostic, monitoring and pharmacodynamic biomarkers in ALS.

The partners to this consortium have already demonstrated that the protein cargo in the NDEs of sporadic ALS patients is different from controls and could potently be utilized for accurate diagnosis. The goals of this consortium are to expand and finalize the biomarker signature measured within isolated NDEs; provide a better resolution to the correlation between the NDEs’ cargo, postmortem brain and induced pluripotent stem cells derived neurons from the same individuals; and test the biomarker signature in a larger patient population.

Read the full announcement at Target ALS.