Named after Dr. Arthur J. Hudson, the co-founder of ALS Canada, this grant program brings together researchers from across the country to accelerate therapeutic development by: 1) identifying and testing a relevant therapeutic target or candidate therapy and/or 2) addressing critical needs for early diagnosis and biomonitoring of clinical progression applied to clinical research. Research in all stages of development is welcomed, from basic/preclinical to Phase I, II and III clinical trials. ALS Canada partners with Brain Canada (with the financial support of Health Canada) on this program in order to leverage contributions made through the Ice Bucket Challenge.
ALS Canada-Brain Canada Discovery grants
The discovery grant program encourages new basic research focused on identifying causes of or treatments for ALS. The goal of this program is to build a foundation of data for novel, out-of-the-box ideas in ALS research or to attract investigators from related fields who bring new expertise to ALS research. ALS Canada partners with Brain Canada (with the financial support of Health Canada) on this program in order to leverage contributions made through the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Ensuring that Canada continues to have a strong community of talented ALS researchers is the goal of this research funding, which supports senior postdoctoral trainees as well as recently hired junior faculty members to secure or maintain a faculty job in Canada. Recipients of this funding are all pursuing forward thinking, high-impact ALS research aimed squarely at helping to make the disease treatable, not terminal. Furthermore, this research will have a broader impact on our understanding of other neurodegenerative diseases. ALS Canada partners with Brain Canada (with the financial support of Health Canada) on this program in order to leverage contributions made through the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Fellowships provide salary support for promising young investigators who at this point in their careers are making critical decisions about the areas they will study in the future. Supporting the highest calibre applicants at this stage provides the best possible chance for maintaining Canadian ALS research excellence in the future. In 2016, we awarded two fellowships at $165,000 over three years:
These awards provide $25,000 per year over three years for young researchers to pursue a PhD in a Canadian laboratory. This funding also assists the hosting laboratory by offsetting funds that will help them to achieve their goals. As a result, it is a wise investment with the potential to launch the career of a future leader in the field and further secure our ability to achieve the vision of making ALS a treatable, not terminal disease.
This program is designed to maintain momentum of the best ongoing ALS research projects in Canada that applied to federal government grant competitions through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). CIHR grant competitions typically have over 2,000 applicants spanning all forms of health research from across the country, and only the top 10-15% receive funding. This can make it very difficult for ALS grants to be supported. The ALS Canada bridge grant program combines CIHR scores and an independent assessment of impact on the field of ALS through peer review, to determine the recipients of $100,000 for use over one year.
Many of the choices that clinicians make in treating symptoms, or that families make on seeking care are anecdotal or based on evidence from other diseases. Formal assessment of these avenues in ALS patients could address potential gaps in care. Examples include, but are not limited to, management of secretions and cramps, psychological interventions to address mental health issues, nutritional interventions, respiratory care, engineering applications to reduce physical limitations, and programs to address the needs of caregivers.
2016 recipients of the ALS Canada Clinical Management Grant will be announced in early 2017.