Collaborative Research Efforts With ALS TDI
The Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation donates money each year to fund specific research efforts at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
ALS TDI is driven by a single mission — to discover and develop treatments for ALS. It is the world’s first and largest nonprofit biotech focused 100 percent on ALS research. Led by people with ALS and drug development experts, it is funded by a global network of supporters unified to ending ALS.
|2018||$25,000||Biomarker database collection (CSF and tissue sample library)|
|2019||$25,000||ALS animal model development|
Initial Donation to the Forbes Norris MDA/ALS Research and Treatment Center
The first $100,000.00 the Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation raised was donated to The Forbes Norris MDA/ALS Center in San Francisco on September 2, 2014 in fulfillment of Martha’s wish to fund research until a cure is found. Martha participated in clinical trials for NP001 at the center from 2011-2012. The Forbes Norris Center is an example of an interdisciplinary ALS center which is key to ALS patient comfort. There are now multiple interdisciplinary centers in CA that help patients get all the information and medical attention they need in one location. The ALS Association is a huge sponsor and creator of these clinics.
(Pictured above from left to right: Dallas Forshew, Dr. Katz, Bob Osborn, Mrs. Dee Norris Dr. Miller)
$10,000 ALS RESEARCH GRANT SPONSORS 2019: The Larry Fernandez Family
After the 2018 Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation Golf Tournament raised an incredible $125,000.00, the MOFF directors recognized an opportunity. The opportunity was to create a $10,000.00 ALS Research Grant Sponsorship and pick a promising ALS research project in California to be the recipient of the funds. We are beyond excited for the opportunity to link a specific donor to the ALS research project going on at The Ichida Lab at the USC Keck School of Medicine.
Why did MOFF select the PIKFYVE antisense oligonucleotide research project happening in Dr. Justin Ichida’s Lab to be the recipient of these funds? Dr. Ichida’s lab is in the process of developing a therapeutic that is indicated in many forms of ALS and preclinical research shows that it slows degeneration of patient’s motor neurons. Please read the memo from Dr. Ichida below to find out more:
Over the past 10 years, researchers have learned that ALS has many different genetic causes. Therefore, one reason that therapeutic development for ALS has been difficult is because many therapeutics may work well for a small number of patients, but not for most patients. It has been difficult to identify therapeutics that work for most patients because the genetic causes for most cases are not known. To enable the discovery of therapeutics that can slow or reverse neurodegeneration in most ALS patients, we developed a new technology that allows the production of motor nerve cells from blood. In this approach, the genetics of each ALS patient is maintained in the motor nerve cells derived from him/her. Using these cells in a dish, we tested all approved FDA drugs and thousands of other drug-like chemicals to find those that show the greatest ability to prevent the degeneration of motor nerve cells from a diverse collection of ALS patients. We identified rare drug-like chemicals that showed much better efficacy than riluzole or Radicava, and slow degeneration of most patients’ motor nerve cells. We are currently developing one of the drug-like chemicals for clinical testing, and any donations from the Martha Olsen-Fernandez Foundations will help to accelerate these efforts.
Thank you, The Larry Fernandez Family, for being our ALS Research Grant Sponsor at the 2019 MOFF Golf Tournament!!
(From left to right) Scientists Gabriel, Dr. Justin Ichida, and Manuel posing with the MOFF check in their stem cell lab at USC.