Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix gets over $16M to help lead ALS research consortium

Oct 10, 2023, 8:16 AM

Doctor looking at patient...

Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix was awarded over $16 million recently to help start up and lead an extensive Lou Gehrig's disease clinical research project. (Facebook Photo/Barrow Neurological Institute)

(Facebook Photo/Barrow Neurological Institute)

PHOENIX — Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix was awarded over $16 million recently to help start up and lead an extensive Lou Gehrig’s disease clinical research project.

The funding from the National Institutes of Health will be used to create the Access for All in ALS Consortium, a nationwide collaboration to combat the disease also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

ALS is a rapidly progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disease with no treatment to stop or reverse its progression. About 5,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

“Time is of the essence for patients with ALS, and we are working to identify new and effective approaches to develop and test new treatments quickly,” Dr. Robert Bowser, ALS researcher and chief scientific officer at Barrow, which is located at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, said in a press release.

“It’s my hope that the Access for All in ALS Consortium will lead us to potentially groundbreaking ALS discoveries and treatments that will extend the quality of life for those living with ALS.”

What will Lou Gehrig’s disease consortium do?

The consortium will conduct clinical research that includes ALS patients nationwide. It will generate samples of and collect data from biological material that will be linked to comprehensive clinical information, which will be available for scientists around the globe to access on a web-based portal.

As the western coordinating center, Barrow will oversee half of 34 clinical sites in the study, which spans the United States and Puerto Rico. The other half of the clinical sites will be managed by researchers at the eastern coordinating center, Massachusetts General Hospital.

Altogether, the consortium will be led by researchers at Barrow, Massachusetts General Hospital and Columbia University.

Here’s how Barrow will be involved in ALS project

Dr. Jeremy Shefner, chief medical officer of clinical research at Barrow, is one of the principal investigators who will be collaborating with scientists from Columbia University and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Shefner’s team will be tasked with site monitoring activities and training of clinical outcomes for all 34 sites within the consortium. Data will be gathered from remote and in-person visits.

“Barrow Neurological Institute is honored to be selected by the NIH to help coordinate this important research consortium,” Bowser said.

“By studying patient-derived biosamples from diverse ALS cohorts, we hope to accelerate the development of effective new drugs to extend life for people living with ALS.”

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Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix gets over $16M to help lead ALS research consortium