ALS Canada awards $3 million for 12 new research projects to help make amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) a treatable, not terminal disease

TORONTO, November 22, 2017 – Today, the ALS Society of Canada announced 12 exciting new research projects being funded in 2017 through the ALS Canada Research Program, which is supported by ALS Societies across Canada. The research being funded includes a multi-year study of a promising drug combination, three trainee grants that will help to […]

ALS Research Update, November 2017

ALS research is at a time of unprecedented advancement. New information on genes linked to ALS and the downstream effects of mutations in these genes has helped researchers to develop a so-called ‘roadmap’ of biological pathways that are important in ALS and to gain a better understanding of this complex disease. With new advancements being […]

Strengthening Canada’s Excellence in ALS Clinical Trials

For a disease like ALS that has few treatment options and no cure, clinical trials are the best hope for the future. Participants in clinical trials play a critical role to help determine if a new treatment can slow, halt or reverse disease progression, or if a new intervention can improve the quality of life […]

Research to help people with ALS stay active and independent

Updated October 20, 2017 Staying active and independent for as long as possible is important for people living with ALS as the disease progresses. There are many ways in which to manage symptoms or receive care, but there often isn’t enough research performed to determine which approaches make the greatest difference. To help address these […]

Finding New Ways to Diagnose ALS Faster with Advanced Imaging

ALS is difficult to diagnose because no single test or procedure can firmly identify the disease. Current diagnostic tests for ALS focus on ruling out other diseases that share similar initial symptoms. For example, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test typically used to eliminate a diagnosis of cancer, multiple sclerosis or pressure on the […]

Maximizing the impact of donor dollars for ALS research

Finding new treatments that can change the course of ALS requires a robust research program, one that supports a large community of researchers exploring multiple avenues of inquiry. ALS Canada has been supporting world-class research across Canada for more than 30 years with a variety of grants and awards that are helping to learn more […]

ALS researchers respond to the Ice Bucket Challenge

In 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge became a viral social media sensation … and ALS researchers across the country – along with ALS Canada staff and supporters – responded to the challenge. For a full list of the researchers in the video, see below. ALS Canada Staff Dr. Richard Bedlack, Duke ALS Clinic, North Carolina Sneha […]

Bench Strength: The Power of Collaboration Fuels Canada’s ALS Research

It all started about five years ago, with worms in a Petri dish in a Canadian ALS researcher’s lab. Today, researchers are preparing to launch a Phase 2 clinical trial of the drug pimozide, which in a couple of months will begin recruiting participants at multiple locations across Canada. The story of how this discovery […]

Dr. Christen Shoesmith discusses the importance of donor support

Dr. Christen Shoesmith is the Director of the Motor Neuron Disease Clinic, a member of the London Health Sciences Centre, as well as a member of the Client Services Advisory Council and co-investigator for two ALS Canada clinical research fellowship grants. She is also the chair of the ALS Best Practice Recommendations. Why is donor support […]

Research Update, August 2017

ALS research is at a time of unprecedented advancement. New information on genes linked to ALS and the downstream effects of mutations in these genes has helped researchers to develop a so-called ‘roadmap’ of biological pathways that are important in ALS and to gain a better understanding of this complex disease. With new advancements being […]

Eric Martineau: ALS Researcher Profile

Eric Martineau is a PhD student in Richard Robitaille’s laboratory at l’Université de Montréal. In 2015, he received the ALS Canada Doctoral Research Award, which provides $25,000 per year over three years for young researchers to pursue a PhD in a Canadian laboratory. How long have you been studying ALS? I’ve been studying ALS since 2011 when I joined the […]

Audrey Labarre: ALS Researcher Profile

Audrey Labarre studies in Dr. Alex Parker’s lab at l’Université de Montréal. Could you tell us a little bit about your work? We’re working with the C. elegans, little worms one millimetre long. We use them to model the ALS disease. I’m interested in the gut microbiota – all your bacterial friends that are living […]

Elsa Tremblay – ALS and the Neuromuscular Junction

Updated October 20, 2017 Elsa Tremblay from l’Université de Montréal studies ALS because of a personal connection. Is there anything in particular that drew you to studying ALS? I went into ALS because my father died from ALS, and also my grandmother. So it’s pretty clear that ALS is running in the family…probably a genetic […]

Pimozide: Everything Old is New Again

Updated October 20, 2017 Very early in his medical training, Dr. Lawrence Korngut was introduced to the concept of ALS. “As a neurologist, I have always been very interested in the physical exam and ALS is the perfect example since the diagnosis is made entirely by physical exam,” said Dr. Korngut in an interview with […]

Dr. Christen Shoesmith – ALS Best Practice Recommendations

A group of ALS clinicians across the country is developing Best Practice Recommendations to set a common standard of care for Canadians living with ALS. Dr. Christen Shoesmith of the London Health Sciences Centre explains. She will be speaking about the Canadian ALS Best Practice Recommendations at the Virtual Research Forum on August 9. Read more […]

ALS Canada Webinar Series: Clinical Trials

Many people living with ALS and their families want to know how scientific discoveries move from basic research in the laboratory through different phases of clinical trials using human volunteers. They also want to understand why clinical research is required before a new therapy is approved and why it takes so long for researchers to […]

From Inquiry to Insight: Dr. Michael Strong

Updated October 20, 2017 Dr. Michael Strong has spent his career as a clinician scientist researching ALS with a determined curiosity and keen attention to new learning in the field. Over the years, people living with ALS and their families have been an ongoing source of inspiration to him. “The toughest thing in life is […]

Skin models for the study of ALS

Updated October 20, 2017 Bastien Paré from l’Université Laval has been studying ALS for more than five years. We spoke with him about his research and the future of ALS in Canada. Can you tell us about your ALS Canada-funded research? I’m quite different from most people that are working on neurons, and trying to understand […]

Every August Until A Cure

“Every August until a cure.” These five words were first spoken by ALS patient and advocate Pat Quinn upon accepting a Webby Award for his part in creating the Ice Bucket Challenge. The social media phenomenon and global sensation raised millions of dollars for charitable organizations dedicated to funding ALS research and support, and gave […]

Learning more about how gene mutations can cause ALS

Updated October 20, 2017 In the late 1980s, Dr. Neil Cashman was completing a neurology fellowship in ALS at the University of Chicago. At that time, little was known about the genetics or biology of ALS and Dr. Cashman became captivated by trying to understand the cause of the progressive paralysis he observed in his […]

For Tom and Denis, the Ice Bucket Challenge is Personal

Like many people, Denis and his husband Tom were familiar with the Ice Bucket Challenge that became a social media phenomenon in the summer of 2014 – but they never imagined they would one day have a personal motivation to participate. That all changed in 2015 when Denis was diagnosed with ALS. From that point […]

Could viruses play a role in the onset or progression of ALS in people with a genetic link?

When a person is infected with a virus, it triggers an immune response that generally results in inflammation. For example – think of the sore throat, redness and swelling that occurs when you are sick with tonsillitis. The immune response is designed to rid the body of the pathogens causing the infection, and sometimes our […]

Dr. Richard Bedlack’s Quest for ALS Discovery: The Truth is Out There

Updated October 20, 2017 Dr. Richard Bedlack’s passion for neurology started when he was a child. As many children do, he used to roll down hills with his little brother – but Dr. Bedlack’s inquisitive nature made him wonder why it made them dizzy. His fascination with the nervous system grew over time as he […]

Q&A with Dr. David Taylor, VP, Research

This interview was originally posted on the Hitfar website in February 2017. Thank you to Hitfar for giving ALS Canada permission to re-post this content. Could you start by explaining the disease and its effects? ALS is a disease where the living wires, called motor neurons, that connect your brain to your muscles die. This means […]

ALS Canada Webinar Series: Research Update

ALS research is at a significant tipping point, and we can now envision a future where ALS becomes a treatable condition. This was one of the highlights shared by Dr. David Taylor, Vice President of Research at ALS Canada, during a webinar presentation on June 13, 2017. The webinar was the first in a series […]

The ALS Canada Research Program

Today was the deadline for applications from the research community for three different types of funding through the ALS Canada Research Program. Applications are evaluated by an international panel of scientific experts through a peer review process, regarded as the international benchmark of excellence in research funding. This approach enables us to maximize the impact […]

Could state-of-the-art gene editing play a role in correcting genetic mutations linked to the development of ALS?

Research is increasingly demonstrating that genetic mutations play a significant role in the development of ALS: for example, the C9orf72 gene is one of the most prominent genetic causes of the disease. With the scientific community abuzz about CRISPR/CAS9, a state-of-the-art technology that enables scientists to precisely manipulate and edit genes in living organisms, the […]

A second ALS treatment, edaravone, has been newly approved in the United States

Updated October 5, 2017 Highlights: In May 2017 the United States Food and Drug Administration approved edaravone (also referred to as Radicava and Radicut) for the treatment of ALS. It’s the second ALS drug to be approved in the US. The first drug, riluzole, was approved more than 20 years ago. Radicava became available in […]

Upcoming Webinar: The Canadian ALS Neuroimaging Consortium (CALSNIC)

Webinar: The Canadian ALS Neuroimaging Consortium (CALSNIC) Monday, April 24 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time: 30 minutes + questions Hosted by: Dr. Sanjay Kalra Click here to register for the Webinar During this webinar you can expect to learn how Dr. Kalra has built a team of researchers across Canada to develop the ability to […]

New Canadian investments in ALS research reflect growing knowledge about the disease and increasing likelihood of effective treatments being developed

The ALS Society of Canada (ALS Canada), in partnership with Brain Canada, today announced $4.5 million in funding for nine new ALS research projects. This means that since the Ice Bucket Challenge became a social media phenomenon in 2014, nearly $20 million has been invested in Canadian ALS research at a time when it has […]

Canada’s rising stars in ALS research receive more than $1 million from the ALS Canada Research Program and Brain Canada

The generosity of Canadians has helped three early-career researchers to make ALS the focus of their work in the country’s labs and academic institutions. The research funding, which totals more than $1 million, has been awarded through the ALS Canada Research Program and Brain Canada as a result of money raised through the Ice Bucket […]

Ice Bucket Challenge leads to ALS gene discovery

Earlier this week researchers announced that the gene NEK1 has been found to play a significant role in the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This landmark discovery is the result of an 11-country research collaboration that was funded through the Ice Bucket Challenge. The research team included 3 Canadians, one of whom was directly […]

New bona fide ALS gene discovered by international group of researchers

A large consortium of researchers from six countries have definitively identified a new ALS gene called TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) by performing a rigorous study that involved sequencing of more than 2800 people with ALS compared with more than 6000 control samples. Canadian researcher Dr. Guy Rouleau, Director of the Montreal Neurological Institute and his […]