How does the loss of the normal function of DNAJC7 cause ALS?

Thanks to new funding from the ALS Society of Canada and Brain Canada, Dr. Martin Duennwald of Western University, an expert on protein misfolding in neurodegenerative disease, is coming together with Dr. Sali Farhan, an up-and-coming Canadian researcher at The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital). Together they will explore how mutations in DNAJC7 impede its ability […]

Can zebrafish help explain how mutations in this gene contribute to ALS?

An interdisciplinary Canadian team headed by Dr. Gary Armstrong of The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital)  is poised to explore how a recently linked pair of genes contribute to the onset of ALS. In 2014, mutations in a gene called CHCHD10 were newly identified as a genetic cause of ALS; just four years later, Dr. Eric […]

Could mindfulness improve quality of life for people living with ALS?

Thanks to joint funding from Brain Canada and ALS Canada through the 2020 Discovery Grant Program, a team based at The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) will be able to pioneer a study on mindfulness in ALS, with the goal of helping health care professionals, people living with ALS and their primary caregivers enjoy better quality […]

Could inflammation in this pathway provide a new target for ALS therapies?

A newly identified pathway has been piquing research interest around the world for its possible role in ALS. Recently, Canadian virologist Dr. Honglin Luo, in collaboration with her colleague Dr. Neil Cashman, discovered that an immune pathway known as cGAS-STING – a catchier abbreviation for cyclic GMP-AMP synthase-stimulator of interferon genes – is activated by […]

The Brain-Gut connection: Could a probiotic help delay the onset or severity of ALS symptoms?

The relationship between the gut and the brain has received increasing attention in recent years, and while there is evidence that probiotics support gut health – new research shows that probiotics may also have intriguing possibilities for applications in ALS. A team led by Dr. Alex Parker (Department of Neuroscience, CRCHUM, Université de Montréal), has […]

Ice Bucket Challenge Proceeds Help Fund First Canadian ALS Care and Management Guideline

Toronto – The Ice Bucket Challenge continues to make an impact. Proceeds from the highly successful 2014 viral sensation have helped fund a comprehensive new resource to guide efforts to ensure people living with ALS in Canada receive the best possible care no matter where they live. The first Canadian Best Practice Recommendations for the […]

ALS Doesn’t Stop – So Neither Can Research Investment

The ALS Canada Research Program awards $650K for three innovative new research initiatives, with an additional $1 million to be announced in 2021 TORONTO – The ALS Society of Canada today announced that as part of its 2020 research commitment, the ALS Canada Research Program is investing $650,000 in three new initiatives that will contribute […]

Thanks to our ALS Canada Research Forum sponsors for standing with us

You don’t need us to tell you that 2020 has thrown everyone and everything for a loop. A few months into the year, we all found ourselves having to adapt very quickly to mitigate the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic. For ALS Canada, that meant cancelling the 2020 edition of our annual ALS Canada Research […]

ALS Research Update, August 2020

The ALS Canada Research Program is encouraged by the continued momentum seen in ALS research at a time when support for it is more important than ever before. Read about the progress researchers have made in advancing new treatment strategies, understanding the effectiveness of riluzole in the real world; and learning how ALS develops and […]

Ice Bucket Challenge continues to drive research discovery by providing new insights into ALS

Within the brain, neurons are constantly communicating with each other. These communications can be inhibitory or excitatory, essentially like a stop or go signal. For our brains to function properly we need to have a balance between these two signals. Having too much of the excitatory, or “go” signal, has been linked to a variety […]

Can an animal model provide new insights into the formation of stress granules?

Alicia Dubinski may have inherited both her love for science and studying a neurodegenerative disease from her mother, a neuroscientist at the University of Toronto. When Dubinski was still a graduate student at the University of Waterloo, she met Dr. Christine Vande Velde at l’Université de Montréal in the Spring of 2019. She knew right […]

Could newly discovered tags on TDP-43 protein explain its abnormal behaviour in ALS?

Overhearing one conversation was all it took to spark a new idea that became a funded ALS research project. Terry Suk, a PhD student working in the lab of Dr. Maxime Rousseaux at the University of Ottawa, heard Dr. Rousseaux and another student discuss a list of proteins in the brain that are modified by […]

Is the loss of normal function of C9ORF72 protein in a particular cell type a key driver of ALS disease processes?

Rahul Kumar has a burning curiosity to uncover the biological mechanisms driving neurodegenerative diseases. After finishing his combined Bachelor of Science/Master of Science degrees at a prestigious research institute in India, he moved to Canada so he could work on ALS research. He joined Dr. Peter McPherson’s lab at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital […]

What is the role of a newly discovered protein in ALS?

Myriam Gagné was not expecting to work on ALS research. But the first time she saw Dr. Christine Vande Velde’s lab at l’Université de Montréal, it was “love at first sight.” Studying ALS would allow her to combine basic cell biology, neurosciences and biochemistry, her main academic areas of interest. She joined the lab in […]

Is an experimental drug that can prevent abnormal protein behaviour in ALS already out there?

When Marc Shenouda first learned about ALS as an undergraduate science student, he found himself asking many questions: Why is the average life expectancy only two to five years after diagnosis? Why is there is no cure yet? How can we find better treatments, ones that could extend life by more than a few months? […]

ALS Research Update | October 2019

ALS Research Update, October 2019 Welcome to the October 2019 ALS Research update. This month, you’ll learn about the progress researchers have made in: transforming the way clinical trials are conducted; understanding the roles that the microbiome and protein clumping may play in ALS; and identifying the mechanisms by which different genes may contribute to […]

ALS Research Update | August 2019

What’s happening in the world of ALS research at this point in the year? Read about the progress researchers have made in developing new and better models to study ALS in the lab, insights gained into the progression of ALS on a cellular level, new compounds identified as potential treatment strategies for ALS and the […]

Mother and son hold on to precious time left together

Five years ago, when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral in 2014, Mario knew very little about ALS, and had no idea how it would affect his life. Because of a co-worker whose dad was living with ALS, Mario completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. “Once I got tagged in a post there was […]

From ice bucket to bucket list: how Margot is coping with ALS

Margot Algie heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 through friends and had no idea that only one year later, she would be diagnosed with the disease. Since then, she has come to understand firsthand the importance of maintaining the momentum of the viral social media phenomenon that resulted in a $21.5M investment […]

Leading Canadian ALS researcher stresses “time is of the essence”

“When you start researching ALS, it becomes a life mission,” says Dr. Janice Robertson, a prominent figure in the ALS research community in Canada and abroad. Dr. Robertson is studying variations within the brain and spinal cord of people living with ALS using two powerful new technologies that allow researchers to examine the nuclei of […]

No time to lose: ALS Canada volunteer and fundraiser sees urgent need for change

Beth Robertson’s husband, Tim, lived courageously with ALS for 12 years. He was sustained by the loving presence of his wife, Beth, his three children, and a large network of family and friends. Beth says she would do it all over again for Tim, but she admits ALS is a terrible burden for everyone it […]

Coach Sunshine’s ‘never quit attitude’ can help change the future of ALS

At the rink where he has coached boys’ ice hockey for more than 10 years, Adam Welburn-Ross, 43, is fondly known as “Coach Sunshine.” He wears his positivity as a badge of honour and now that he is living with ALS, his disposition is helping everyone around him appreciate every precious moment of the day. […]

Community spirit ignites passion to increase ALS awareness

An active mother of three young children, Stephanie Christiansen Hall wants people to know she has ALS – but she wants everyone to know that her disease is only part of her story. Apart from living with ALS, Stephanie is – and has always been – a selfless person with a positive nature, a desire […]

Finding inspiration from the small things makes a big difference

Brian Bower has always been passionate about sports. Above all, he is an ardent fisherman, known on occasion to snatch 15 minutes from his day for the joy of casting a line in one of the abundant waterways in and around Welland, where he lives. Brian also loves soccer, tennis, lacrosse, hockey and baseball. An […]

Music and resiliency: lessons from my father

Talking about his dad’s ALS diagnosis, Connor Stratton, 17, says, “It’s a hard thing to understand at times, but it’s good to try to look at the bright side because my dad still has his spirits up. He’s still happy around us, and that’s something that reflects on all of us.” Kerry Stratton, a well-known […]

Reinforcing spiritual values through community connection

Since receiving his ALS diagnosis in February 2018, Mark Ianniello’s life has changed in profound ways. He is a 49-year-old father to three teenagers and can no longer work to help support his family. ALS has affected his speech and his mobility. Mark admits to having ups and downs. Despite the challenges, he says ALS […]

“Team Ed” a demonstration of love and support at the Walk to End ALS

Entering his 60’s, Ed Parcells was in the best shape of his life. He ran most mornings, cycled 60-100 km a few times a week, and played hockey on a regular basis. At the time, he and his wife Ev had sold their house and were looking forward to travelling and enjoying their retirement together. […]

Augie’s Quest and ALS Research in Canada

For the second year in a row, Orangetheory Fitness is giving its members (and the community) a way for you to make an impact while getting in a good workout. It’s a win-win! On May 1, 2019, Orangetheory Fitness is launching a campaign throughout Canadian studios to benefit the ALS Canada Research Program. Their inaugural […]

The impact of donor dollars on ALS research in Canada

The result of the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge gave the ALS community a tremendous gift: awareness and unprecedented investment in ALS research. Thanks to the viral fundraising phenomenon that year, along with matched funds from Brain Canada (through the Canada Brain Research Fund with financial support from Health Canada), the investment of $20 million allowed […]

ALS Research Update, June 2018

ALS research is at a time of unprecedented advancement. Our biggest hope is to stop ALS from stealing dreams, abilities, and lives – and researchers are closer than they’ve ever been to making this a reality. With such unprecedented momentum, we can’t afford to be stagnant. Give now to stop ALS from taking. This ALS […]

The ALS Association Partners with the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the ALS Society of Canada to Establish the ALS Reproducible Antibody Platform

Washington, D.C. (March 8, 2018) – The ALS Association, in partnership with the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND Association) and the ALS Society of Canada, is pleased to announce $600,000 in funding to support the ALS Reproducible Antibody Platform (ALS-RAP). The funding will support the creation of an open-access pipeline to validate antibody research and […]

Could studying yeast help to answer questions about how ALS progresses?

If you look at a picture of a cell in a science textbook, the internal structures look static and neatly organized. But living cells are bustling with numerous processes, converting nutrients into energy and making proteins that the body’s tissues and organs need to function and grow. Proteins must fold into specific 3D shapes so […]

Can probiotics play a protective role in ALS?

Probiotics are friendly, live bacteria that are good for the digestive system. You may be familiar with the digestive benefits of probiotics in foods like yogurt or kefir. Many scientists are investigating how changes in the composition of intestinal bacteria may play a role in a range of diseases including obesity, colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease […]

Can a promising drug combination address one of the most defining biological characteristics of ALS?

All cells in our bodies make proteins, but sometimes they make mistakes, resulting in proteins that have the wrong shape. In a healthy body, protective mechanisms within the cells deal with the misshapen proteins so they don’t cause trouble, but when those mechanisms fail, the defective proteins can accumulate in clumps, making it difficult for […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

ALS 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]