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Barrow Identifies New Genes Responsible for ALS using IBM Watson Health

PRNewswire/ – Barrow Neurological Institute and IBM Watson Health today announced results of a revolutionary study that has identified new genes linked to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s. The discovery gives ALS researchers new insights that will pave the way for the development of new drug targets and therapies to combat one of the world’s most devastating and deadly diseases. The groundbreaking discovery involved IBM Watson, a cutting-edge form of artificial intelligence, to help unravel the mysteries of the brain and provide Barrow scientists with never-before-known data. IBM Watson became known around the nation in 2011 when it competed against human contestants on Jeopardy, and won. PhD, director of the Gregory W. Fulton ALS Research Center at Barrow Neurological Institute and one of the nation’s leading ALS researchers. “ALS is one of the most complicated diseases to unravel and there is no cure. We hope that the use of IBM Watson for Drug Discovery will allow us to identify new and more effective treatments for ALS.”. Approximately 6,000 people are diagnosed with ALS every year. Barrow began working with IBM last year to explore unidentified genes and proteins that may be linked to ALS using its life sciences solution, Watson for Drug Discovery. More significantly, the study found five never before linked genes associated with ALS. Without IBM Watson for Drug Discovery, researchers predict the discovery would have taken years rather than only a few months. “IBM Watson for Drug Discovery, with its robust knowledge base, was able to rapidly give us new and novel information we would not otherwise have had.”. The newly launched Watson for Drug Discovery is a cloud-based offering that aims to help researchers identify new drug targets and alternative drug indications. “Traditional research tools are fast becoming inadequate to help data scientists and researchers keep pace with and find relevant insights among the now billions of documents which are spread all over the world,” said Dr. Tina Moen., PharmD, Deputy Chief Health Officer for IBM Watson Health.

Keywords: [“discovery”, “ALS”, “Watson”]

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Research Studies

The University of Florida Academic Health Center – the most comprehensive academic health center in the Southeast – is dedicated to high-quality programs of education, research, patient care and public service. The UF College of Dentistry is the only public-funded dental school in Florida and is recognized as one of the top U.S. dental schools for the quality of its educational programs, oral health research enterprise and commitment to patient care and service. The College of Medicine, the largest of six colleges at the University of Florida Academic Health Center, opened in 1956 with a mission to increase Florida’s supply of highly qualified physicians, provide advanced health-care services to Florida residents and foster discovery in health research. The UF College of Nursing continually attracts and retains the highest caliber of nursing students and faculty with a passion for science and caring. Established in 1923, the College of Pharmacy is the oldest college in the UF Academic Health Center. Ranked among the top schools of pharmacy nationally, the college supports research, service and educational programs enhanced with online technologies. The College of Public Health & Health Professions is dedicated to providing excellent educational programs that prepare graduates to address the multifaceted health needs of populations, communities and individuals. The UF College of Veterinary Medicine is Florida’s only veterinary college and provides many unique educational programs for students and services aimed at helping pets, wildlife and endangered species. Co-located with the Shands Jacksonville Hospital, the Jacksonville Health Science Center excels in education, research and patient care that expresses our abiding values of compassion, excellence, professionalism and innovation. The UFHSC-J is a clinical teaching site for the Gainesville-based College of Nursing. The UF College of Pharmacy-Jacksonville offers a four-year Doctor of Pharmacy Program completed entirely in Jacksonville. University of Florida Health knows how important ongoing medical learning is to health care providers and the community.

Keywords: [“Health”, “College”, “Program”]

Wake Forest School of Medicine

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research at Wake Forest School of Medicine is divided into two equal parts that work together to test promising therapies and develop ideas about the cause of ALS. Our goal is to generate novel treatments for this disease. The Translational Science Unit aims to illuminate the cause and progression of ALS and to test novel therapies that can slow the progression of the disease. The TSU recently received a major grant to study the process of the nerves disconnecting from the muscles at the earliest stages of ALS. Learning about this process may lead to new ideas about how to keep these connections intact. Current research projects highlights Examining the role of signal transduction pathways in mediating motor neuron survival and death during central nervous system development. Determining the motor neuron stress response and the role of astrocytes and muscle in the disease. Identification of cerebrospinal fluid antibodies as potential biomarkers for ALS. Identifying early changes in spinal cord and neuromuscular junctions in ALS. Despite the importance of muscle strength in preventing physical disability, the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the age-dependent decline in the neuromuscular system are only partially understood. The main focus of our research is to determine the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the age-dependent alterations in structure and function of motor neurons and skeletal muscle fibers. The reciprocal interaction between muscle cells and spinal cord motor neurons. Interventions aimed at ameliorating or delaying the age-dependent impairment in the neuromuscular system. One of our current projects is examining the very early events in ALS disease process, specifically those associated with muscle weakness. Muscle weakness occurs because the motor neurons, the cells that no longer function and die in ALS, lose contact with their target muscle. Motor neurons are complicated cells because their cell bodies are in the spinal cord, and they extend processes through the nerves to contact target muscles.

Keywords: [“muscle”, “ALS”, “motor”]
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