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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 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019<--- click on year to view .pdf file.

MDA Wings Over Wall Street Fund Support at the Columbia University Eleanor and Lou Gehrig MDA/ALS Research Center From 2001 through 2019


Basic Science Projects

Drs. Thomas Jessell, Serge Prozedborski, Chris Henderson, and Hynek Wichterle received funding.  Notable projects and contributions included motor neuron development, stem cell development, apoptosis (cell death) mechanisms in SOD1 transgenic mice, vaccination to improve inflammation in SOD1 transgenic mice, toxicity of transgenic SOD1 astocytes on cultured healthy motor neurons, and generation of new motor neurons out of skin cells of patients with ALS.

Biomarkers Research

Drs. Hiroshi Mitsumoto, Dikoma Shungu, Seth Pullman, Regina Santella, Pam Factor-Litvak, Clifton Gooch received funding. Notable projects and contributions included magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) markers, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) markers, motor unit number estimate (MUNE) markerrs, urinary oxidative stress biomarkers, creatinine, and uric acids.

Clinical and epidemiological Studies

Dr. Hiroshi Mitsumoto, Judith Rabkin, Pam Factor-Litvak, Martin McElhiney, Chris Jennings, Jeri Nieves, Howard Andrews, Leslie Andres, and Ray Goetz received funding. Notable projects and contributions included psychological conditions (depression) in ALS; how to improve end-of-life care; differences in decision-making when electing tracheostomy between Japanese and American patients with ALS; frontotemporal cognitive impairment in ALS; clinical, psychological, dietary, and environmental risk factors among ALS cases; and the search for environmental risk factors in the National ALS Registry.

Innovative Clinical Trials and novel methodology

Drs. Petra Kaufmann, Paul Gordon, Martin McElhiney, Judith Rabkin, and Hiroshi Mitsumoto received funding. Notable projects and contributions include novel clinical trials initiated at the Columbia ALS Center, such as CoQ10, minocycline, glatiramer, modafinil, and combination clinical trials. Other important projects included an assessment of clinically meaningful changes in drug trials; new assessment techniques called “time to up and go;” and establishing telephone-based administration of the ALSFRS-R.

Click here for a list of symposia and publications that arose from Wings funding.