The Packard Center for ALS Research is devoted solely to seeking treatments and a cure for ALS through science. Through targeted projects, fast funding, and a collaborative research model, we’re able to accelerate progress toward effective therapies and treatments for ALS.
The ALS research funded by the Packard Center is divided into two categories: ALS Science and ALS Therapeutics. Each is dependent upon the other. The basic science lays the foundation, by understanding the disease’s biology, that guides us in discovering new ALS therapies. Our therapy-based work screens possible new drugs and techniques that target processes that go wrong in ALS. We examine potential therapies in animal models and help streamline the transition to pharmaceutical, biotech, or other agencies that can turn them into useful treatments.
A new, recent joint venture called P2ALS brings together top U.S. stem cell, molecular biology and genetics experts and Packard scientists for focused, rapid-study projects meant to spark therapy.
A board of external experts (Scientific Advisory Board) meets regularly to discuss the ALS research program and determine which scientific programs must be started to answer the most critical questions regarding ALS. This group also prioritizes therapeutic projects that can benefit patients most in the short term.
Grants are short, specifically targeted to outstanding investigators capable of getting the job done, and are funded in a timeline of two to six weeks. Compare that to the peer review process of NIH, which takes a minimum of nine months to obtain funding and at least a month or more just to prepare a grant.
To advance ALS Science, all funded investigators must attend a monthly meeting to review their data among colleagues. This ensures rapid refinement, critique, better science and better progress. Failure to meet attendance records results in immediate withdrawal of all funds – investigators must show a dedication to the process and willingness to share information well before publishing.
Grants are by no means limited to Hopkins investigators; in fact, nearly 70 percent of the grants now go to non-Hopkins ALS scientists. This ensures that the best people to attack specific ALS therapeutics or pathogenic questions are assigned the task.
New ALS Research Projects
Our current basic scientific and therapeutic projects engage more than 50 neuroscientists, neurologists, biochemists, and cell and molecular biologists in finding new therapies for ALS. Learn where our research is taking us.