Jefferson University Hospitals
Jefferson’s Farber Institute for Neuroscience is the proud home to the Weinberg ALS Center, which combines excellence in basic research with a robust multidisciplinary treatment clinic. The Weinberg ALS Center blends Jefferson’s unique strengths as an academic medical center by ensuring seamless coordination between physicians, neuroscience researchers, and a host of multidisciplinary professionals in the fields of nursing, social work, speech and language pathology, nutrition, and physical and occupational therapy. Professionals from these disciplines are present in a weekly multidisciplinary clinic, held on Fridays, thus ensuring that our patients see all the care providers they need during one visit. While the professionals that compose the Jefferson Weinberg ALS Center and it’s multidisciplinary clinic come from diverse backgrounds, their core goals are all the same. Provide compassionate, state-of-the-art care to patients living with ALS. Employ innovative assistive technologies and therapies to maximize each patient’s level of independence. We strive to engage in basic and clinical research and to integrate that research directly with the clinic to expand effective treatment options for ALS – all with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. Appointments are available every Friday for patients with a confirmed diagnosis of ALS. Diagnostic services are also available. If you have been told you have ALS, or have been asked to see an ALS specialist for a possible diagnosis, we can help. At the Jefferson Weinberg ALS Center patients benefit from the support of a diverse care team that integrates research, clinical experience, and personalized care tailored to support the needs of each patient. Click on the video below to find out how our mutlidisciplinary clinical care and research continues to impact patients. Our mission is to help patients live a purposeful life with ALS. Our vision is to combine innovative research, technology, and comprehensive clinical services that focus on the patient to bring hope, purpose, and compassionate care to ALS patients and their families. Find out how you can support Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals to make a difference in the research and treatment of ALS..
Accelerating Leading-edge Science in ALS
The initiatives of the Common Fund’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program are a time-tested, powerful approach to spark innovation in biomedical and behavioral science. The NIH will use this platform to launch the Accelerating Leading-edge Science in ALS initiative to dramatically advance our understanding of what triggers Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and what drives the rapid progression of this terrible disease. The initiative employs a three-pronged strategy to accelerate ALS research focused on: 1) employing emerging technologies from neuroscience and other fields; 2) attracting new talent from diverse scientific disciplines; and 3) understanding disease convergence. The NOSI can be accessed here and on the Transformative Research Award funding opportunities page. Emerging Technologies from Multiple Fields: Adapting emerging tools and technologies from neuroscience and cell biology may help us identify what causes ALS at the molecular level, and learn how the disease progresses, leading to new therapeutic strategies. Attracting New Talent from a Diversity of Scientific Disciplines: Solving the complex nature of a disease like ALS requires a concerted effort by scientists from not only neuroscience and neurology but from cell biology, bioengineering, chemistry, biophysics, genomics, environmental health science, and computational science. Understanding Disease Convergence: ALS is the most common motor neuron disease, but clues to its biology may come from discoveries in other motor neuron disorders that occur in neurological conditions. Understanding the overlap in the biology among these conditions, together with the intensive research underway on neurodegeneration in general, may provide important clues for the triggers of ALS. Participating NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons that control voluntary muscles. ALS is virtually always fatal, and many people die within 3-5 years of developing symptoms. There is no cure for ALS. The FDA-approved drugs riluzole and edaravone can prolong life by a few months but do not improve symptoms. Visit the NINDS information page on ALS to learn more about the disease and current research.
ALS Research, The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins
Hopkins-sponsored research on how to stop ALS, repair its damage or even prevent it altogether ranks among the world’s best because it’s carried out under a unique blueprint that’s taken shape as The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins. The Packard Center is the only institution of its kind dedicated solely to the disease. Over 100 scientists from Hopkins, other universities, government labs and biotech companies work together, sharing insights and materials to understand the biology of ALS and find a cure. Housed at Hopkins’ East Baltimore campus, the Center is supported largely through private philanthropic funding, as well as more traditional grant support from the National Institutes of Health. It began as the brainchild of the Neurology department’s ALS researchers, especially the Center’s present director, Jeffrey Rothstein. They met with a small group of patients and philanthropists as well as forward-thinking Neurology administrators, to open the Packard Center in 2000. By emphasizing teamwork and sharing-with no need to wait until lab results are published-by requiring progress, meeting milestones and inviting open collaboration, and also by carefully selecting the most promising areas of research and top scientists in those areas, the Packard Center has advanced the field dramatically. Its scientists have helped uncover new genes for familial ALS. They’re actively working on genetic risk factors-reasons why patients with sporadic ALS may be susceptible to the disease. They’ve developed a necessary variety of animal models for testing therapies and exploring ALS biology. Concerned about more immediate help for patients, Center scientists have screened potential new drugs and are ushering them down the testing pipeline. Finally, Packard Center scientists have become world-respected in increasing understanding of what ALS does to cells. Both that knowledge, along with the Center’s drug discovery program, extend insight and treatment possibilities for other neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, spinocerebellar ataxia, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and the peripheral neuropathies.