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Prize4Life Marks One-Year Anniversary of Avi Kremer ALS Treatment Prize
Date:10/9/2009

forward in this prize should attract the attention of those with the resources necessary to move a potentially effective ALS therapy into the clinic," said Dr. Tom Maniatis, Chair of the Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics Program at Columbia University, a prominent ALS researcher and member of Prize4Life's Scientific Advisory Board. "The Kremer prize will only be awarded for a therapy that makes a major difference in the disease, the kinds of therapies that ALS patients really need."

Prize4Life was the first disease-oriented organization to utilize the incentive prize model to address neurodegenerative disease. "There are challenges to this model, to be sure," noted Dr. Maniatis, "but if Prize4Life succeeds, the payoff could be huge. This effort could have major implications not just for ALS patients, but for any group looking to bring new ideas to the table for solving a biomedical problem."

After its first year, the Treatment Prize has attracted teams from industry and academia from across the globe. Competing teams are pursuing several therapeutic approaches, including cell-based therapies to replace damaged cells and the use of protein biologics, and small molecule drugs to interfere with pathways implicated in disease progression (see website for more information).

Says Treatment Prize competitor Michal Schwartz, professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science: "We believe that the approach that we have pioneered is promising, a paradigm shift. By exposing our approach to the community, we are hoping that additional scientists will be inspired." Schwartz's lab has identified a severe immune deficit and immunosuppression in ALS patients and mouse models, and is seeking ways to rejuvenate or arrest immune malfunction.

In support of its Treatment Prize competitors, Prize4Life has partnered with the Jackson Laboratory to provide quality-controlled SOD1 mice for preclinical drug testing. They have also prepared
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