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 of donor dollars by awarding grants for research projects believed to have the greatest potential.
Donor generosity enabled us to award $3.5 million in ALS research grants and awards in 2016, with an additional $2.7 million awarded through matched funds due to our partnership with the Brain Canada Foundation.
We caught up with researcher Monika Schmidt at the ALS Canada Research Forum who told us about the difference donor dollars make by funding the ALS Canada Research Program.
Monika Schmidt, PhD Candidate, Lab of Dr. CE Pearson, University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children
First and foremost, thank you to the donors.
The funding that ALS Canada provides is really important for having access to the equipment, the consumables, the reagents, the people in science that are studying this awful disease. And it’s important for keeping those brilliant minds working on this disease.
The ALS research community is working really hard to try to address all the different aspects of ALS as a disease. Right now, we’ve identified over 30 genetic risk factors for ALS, and we’re working really hard to use complex bioinformatics, or computer-based technology, to further tease out those genetic risk factors, and have a better understanding of what’s causing familial and sporadic ALS.
Also, we’ve created a number of different model organisms of this disease. So everything from flies to worms, C. elegans, to zebra fish to mice, there are models of this disease that we can use to better understand the disease in the context of a living organism. And that’s a huge help when we’re trying to figure out clinically relevant experiments to do.
And then, finally, we have a few treatments for ALS on the horizon which I actually learned about here today at the ALS Research Forum that sound quite promising, so it’ll be interesting to see where those trials go and what comes of them. But I think that as a whole, the ALS research community is working really hard to try to address many different aspects of this disease together because that will be the best way to really get the answers that we need in order to find useful treatments for ALS.