On a national level, the ALS Association has long been the leader in funding ALS research across the globe. Because there is no cure for ALS, this research is a crucial component of our mission, and has resulted in some significant breakthroughs in understanding, treating, and potentially curing this disease.
Donor Dollars in Action
To fight ALS, we study:
- Genetic Factors – Researchers are currently studying how a person’s genetics and their surroundings influence whether or not they are diagnosed with ALS. In 2011, researchers identified a genetic mutation that accounts for nearly a third of all familial ALS cases. Research has also resulted in, among other accomplishments, the discovery of the SOD1 gene, or the “ALS gene,” which is associated with 20% of all diagnosed genetic ALS cases.
- Environmental Factors – This research focuses on how a person’s lifestyle and their surroundings can contribute to the development of ALS. Exposure to toxic metals and solvents, certain trace minerals in the soil, pesticides, and certain viruses are all being studied as potential environmental factors that could be involved in a person developing ALS. Scientists are also studying how military service makes a person more likely to develop ALS.
- Treatments – The ALS Association’s research has greatly advanced discoveries in the treatment and management of ALS. In 2010, the first clinical trial of ISIS-SOD1, a drug that directly targets the “ALS Gene” began.
- A Cure for ALS – Much of the ALS Association’s research is focused on finding a cure for this disease. Researchers are studying how stem cell therapy, gene therapy, and other cutting-edge science could potentially result in a cure for ALS in the future.