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Eleanor and Lou Gehrig MDA/ALS Research Center at Columbia University

Laboratory scientists at the Motor Neuron Center of Columbia University investigate the mechanisms of motor neuron degeneration. Particularly, they use animal models to look at the cell death process. In addition, they are also studying the properties of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)-derived human motor neurons from patients with familial ALS.  Using these human motor neurons, scientists are now able to screen potential therapeutic drugs to treat ALS.  On the other hand, ALS clinicians at the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig MDA/ALS Research Center are investigating the disease mechanisms and cause in patients themselves who have sporadic ALS (non-familial or non-hereditary ALS, comprises 95% of all ALS cases).  They also investigate the efficacy of new therapeutic medications through a number of clinical trials in large multicenter studies.  Another mission of the Center is to investigate the methods to improve patient care and management in patients with ALS.

Research projects funded by MDA's Wings Over Wall Street®

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 <--- click on year to view .pdf file.

Q: What would you do with more money?

A: ALS is still a disease of great mystery.  While there are so many research activities going on throughout the world, ALS still remains the disease of no known cause and no known cure.  ALS research at Columbia is undoubtedly leading the effort to find the disease mechanisms, cause and cure.  The current level of funding is barely sufficient to carry out our research plans. With more money, we can expedite the process and start newer and bolder studies aimed at finding the disease mechanisms, cause and cure at a faster pace.  We would be able to hire investigators, fellows and research personnel.  Furthermore, we would certainly expand our research to other centers as a way to recruit more patients for our studies.  In this way, we would be able to work at multiple laboratories to determine, with more efficiency and speed, whether the study hypotheses are correct. More new and innovative investigations will be generated.  It is a most tedious process; however, we would be able to facilitate the discovery process of this enigmatic disease.  

In summary, we have an ambitious wish list and plans for the future. We will continue, at maximum effort, to search for the causes and treatments of ALS. But, we need your help. We hope the support you give will be large enough to help us expand our current research activities not only at our ALS Center, but also at other Centers, to rapidly facilitate research.  

Hiroshi Mitsumoto, M.D., Director