Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) is a progressive, degenerative motor neuron disease of the nervous system that usually begins in middle or late adulthood, causes total paralysis, and most often leads to death within five years. Since 1993, scientists have uncovered a few genes that, when flawed, can directly cause ALS, and have suspected several others of increasing vulnerability to the disorder or accelerating its course.
TGen's ALS research teams are screening one of the nation's largest groups of patient samples to look for genes that may be involved in causing, exacerbating or increasing vulnerability to ALS. TGen has scanned the genomes of over 1,000 patient samples collected from several clinical sites around the country to identify ALS-causing genes. Funded by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), Augie's Quest and TGen, the one-year project is focused on identifying regions in the human genome that harbor genes that predispose individuals to sporadic ALS.
This new research has uncovered known functions of identified genes and suggests new and important roles these genes have in controlling skeletal and muscle structures and cell adhesion, and what impact this will have on those who are susceptible to sporadic ALS. An understanding of the causes and biological pathways of sporadic ALS will enable earlier diagnostics and knowledge-based therapeutic developments.
TGen's Neurodegenerative Research Unit
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To discuss ways to become involved and support research at TGen, contact the TGen Foundation at Foundation@tgen.org, or call 602.343.8411.