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Video: Allen Institute for Brain Science Unveils World's First Genome-Wide Spinal Cord Atlas

Landmark Atlas Holds Vast Potential to Accelerate Life-Changing Spinal Cord

Research Project Made Possible through Generous Support from Funding Consortium

Committed to Advancing Breakthrough Spinal Cord Discoveries

WASHINGTON, July 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The Allen Institute for Brain Science today unveiled the groundbreaking Allen Spinal Cord Atlas, the world's first genome-wide map of the mouse spinal cord. Researchers can immediately access the free online data to advance their research surrounding spinal cord diseases and disorders.

To view the Multimedia News Release, go to:

Until now, the scientific community's efforts to research spinal cord injury and disease have been hindered by the absence of a genome-wide map of gene expression. The Allen Spinal Cord Atlas is designed to address a gap in the scientific community's knowledge of gene expression in the spinal cord, giving researchers the gift of time in gathering data that might otherwise take months or years to discover.

From disabled veterans to those afflicted with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) or Spinal Muscular Atrophy, spinal cord related diseases and disorders affect people of all ages. Nearly one-quarter of a million Americans -- including several thousand troops in Iraq -- have suffered or suffer from a spinal cord injury; as many as 30,000 Americans suffer from ALS at any given time; and multiple sclerosis affects 2.5 million people worldwide, to name a few.

Innovative Funding Consortium Joins Forces

The Allen Spinal Cord Atlas was first proposed by scientists in the research community following the completion of the Allen Institute's groundbreaking inaugural project, the Allen Brain Atlas. The Institute's established technology platform and multi-disciplinary approach creates a unique opportunity for donors to support specific projects advancing scientific knowledge in target areas.

The Institute's unique funding model, designed to transform public, private and foundation funds into breakthrough scientific discoveries, supported the Allen Spinal Cord Atlas' dedicated consortium of public and private entities -- including The ALS Association, PVA Research Foundation, Wyeth Research, PEMCO Insurance, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, International Spinal Research Trust and philanthropist and Institute founder Paul G. Allen, as well as numerous anonymous donors.

Initial Allen Spinal Cord Atlas Gene Information Released on Internet

Since mice and humans share 90 percent of genes, and the mouse is a well-established model for the study of human diseases, the Allen Spinal Cord Atlas will provide scientists and physicians with an expanded foundation of knowledge to discover new treatments for numerous diseases and disorders. The Allen Spinal Cord Atlas will utilize the same concept and technology as the Institute's inaugural Allen Brain Atlas.

From start to finish, the Allen Spinal Cord Atlas will be completed within a swift, twelve-month timeframe. While inaugural data -- approximately 2,000 genes -- from the Allen Spinal Cord Atlas is now available, the Institute will continue to follow its founding mission and upload additional information until the projected completion in early 2009. It is estimated that hundreds of users from universities, research institutes, pharmaceutical companies and government organizations will use the atlas.

When completed, the Allen Spinal Cord Atlas will detail approximately 20,000 genes including data from youth and adult developmental stages. It will also feature data across the full length of the spinal cord as well as anatomical reference sections.


Aaron Blank,

for the Allen Institute for Brain Science

(206) 343-1543

SOURCE Allen Institute for Brain Science
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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