ALS ONE Gets a $4 Million Funding Boost

The multi-institution partnership is looking for a treatment or cure by 2020.


Kevin Gosnell with members of ALS ONE/Photo provided

The ALS ONE Massachusetts ALS Partnership has new ammunition in its fight to treat and hopefully cure ALS: $4 million in funding.

Kevin Gosnell, an ALS patient who passed away in August of this year, founded ALS ONE in January. He brought together four partner institutions—Massachusetts General Hospital, the ALS Therapy Development Institute, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Compassionate Care ALS—to develop treatments, and potentially a cure, for ALS by 2020. His vision lives on in these new funding commitments.

The donation comes from two national ALS groups—the ALS Association and ALS Finding a Cure—which each donated $2 million. ALS ONE contributed an additional $2 million itself.

ALS gained notoriety a few summers back, when the Ice Bucket Challenge aimed to raise awareness for the neurodegenerative disease, which affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Despite the success of that campaign, however, there is no cure for ALS as of yet.

This gift seeks to change that.

“The collaboration among these distinguished centers of ALS research will help accelerate the development of meaningful new approaches to treatment,” Lucie Bruijn, chief scientist for the ALS Association and an ALS ONE board member, said in a statement.

With the money, Mass General doctors hope to build a network for ALS clinical trials, bringing new therapeutic ideas to those in ALS studies; develop new lab tests and imaging tools; and launch new studies. The ALS ONE group also hopes to improve home care and access to studies for ALS patients, and learn more about several up-and-coming topics within ALS research.

One of those encouraging avenues is the work of Robert Brown, chair of neurology at University of Massachusetts Medical School. Brown is working on ways to reduce expression of the gene linked to inherited ALS.

“We are gratified to be able to help these partnerships bring their expertise to bear on this important goal,” Brujin said in the statement, “and are excited by the potential they represent.”