Wanted: A Collaborative Approach to ALS

In so many situations, collaboration is the name of the game. Almost universally, researchers seeking breakthroughs—especially researchers dealing with neurological disorders—are reaching across the aisle, seeking cross-disciplinary collaborations with the potential to offer an insightful boost to the field. It seems that in neurology, more than any other medical research field, scientists are looking to get out of their silos and work together.

In 2000, the ALS Therapy Alliance was formed with precisely that idea in mind. Diversity is key: The organization is constantly looking for scientists and clinicians at big schools, small schools, rich labs, less well-endowed labs. It’s brought industry, biotech, big pharma, manufacturers, and the media into the fold as well, using those tools to raise money as well as awareness for its goals. And now it wants to convene a large-scale huddle on ALS, one of the most enigmatic of all neurological disorders, and it wants to hear other researchers’ good ideas for collaboration, and reward them with bank.

The ATA is offering grants between $100,000 and $1 million over three years to researchers with good ideas for curing ALS through basic, clinical, and translational research, as well as through clinical trials. Interestingly, both nonprofit and for-profit initiatives are welcome to apply for this funding. We don't see that every day. The deadline is October 15.