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Prize4Life and the Jackson Laboratory team up to fight ALS
Date:12/10/2009

Prize4Life, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), is partnering with The Jackson Laboratory to help more researchers identify treatment candidates that increase the lifespan of mice that model ALS.

The Jackson Laboratory will provide the most widely used ALS mouse models, and expert guidance for how to work with them, to researchers participating in the Prize4Life $1 million challenge. Established in 2008, the Avi Kremer ALS Treatment Prize is named for a Harvard Business School student who was diagnosed with ALS and who, with fellow students, founded Prize4Life in 2004 to accelerate research for treating and curing ALS by using large inducement prizes.

In 2006, Prize4Life opened the ALS Biomarker Challenge, offering a $1 million prize to the researcher who could find a biomarker that would reliably measure disease progress in ALS patients. Both prizes are open to all interested researchers and have attracted research teams from industry and academia from around the world.

Teams competing for the Avi Kremer ALS Treatment Prize are pursuing several approaches, including therapies to replace damaged cells, protein-based therapeutics, and small-molecule drugs that interfere with ALS-implicated pathways.

ALS progressively erodes muscle control, including the ability to breathe. Five-year survival is rare. According to Jackson Laboratory ALS researcher Gregory Cox, Ph.D., fewer than 10 percent of the 5,600 new ALS cases diagnosed in the United States each year can be directly attributed to family genetics. "This disorder is so devastating, and our knowledge base is still so incomplete," says Dr. Cox. "Our expectation is that there will be a genetic susceptibility to ALS, that it's not completely random."

The first genetic factors to be conclusively linked to ALS, albeit in only 3 percent of cases, are mutations in the antioxidant enzyme superoxide d
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Contact: Joyce Peterson
joyce.peterson@jax.org
207-288-6058
Jackson Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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