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New AAN/ALS Association Clinical Fellow Will Pursue Immune Biomarkers
Date:3/13/2013

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The ALS Association and the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) are pleased to announce that James Berry , M.D., M.P.H., from the Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass., is this year's recipient for the Richard Olney AAN/ALS Association Clinician Scientist Development Award, which is a part of The Association's research program TREAT ALS (Translational Research Advancing Therapy for ALS). The purpose of the award is to recruit talented and promising young clinicians, who propose innovative clinical research and to foster their development to make significant contributions to ALS clinical research. The award is named in memory of Richard K. Olney , M.D., a leading ALS neurologist and researcher. Dr. Olney, who died of ALS in 2012, was the director of the ALS Treatment and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig 's Disease) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. For unknown reasons, veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population. There is no cure, and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration modestly extends survival.

For his Fellowship research, Dr. Berry will lead a longitudinal study to characterize immune system changes that may be used as a biomarker in ALS.  Biomarkers, measurable changes which can be correlated with disease and response to therapy, are a key unmet need in ALS research. Such biomarkers would potentially allow shorter and smaller clinical
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SOURCE The ALS Association
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