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Project A.L.S., Eli Lilly collaborate

Monday, November 25, 2013

Project A.L.S. has joined with Eli Lilly to help accelerate development of potential therapies for the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Project A.L.S. will study molecules developed and studied preclinically by Lilly scientists for the treatment of cancer to assess their potential in the treatment of ALS.

Research by Project A.L.S., a nonprofit aligned with Tom Maniatis, Ph.D., and Thomas Jessell, Ph.D., both professors at Columbia University, uncovered novel data that identified a critical role in ALS disease progression for several inflammatory signaling pathways also  known to be associated with cancer.

“Chronic inflammation has long been implicated in ALS disease progression, but recent advances in areas like genomics have now made it possible to identify specific inflammatory targets for ALS drug development,” said Maniatis.

Lilly has a robust oncology pipeline, including several preclinical molecules targeting the signaling pathways proposed to be involved in cancer and inflammation. Project A.L.S. will study select Lilly molecules in preclinical ALS models, pioneered by Project A.L.S. during the last 15 years, to determine if these molecules show any activity between ALS and inflammation.

“The evidence demonstrating a potential role for these cancer signaling pathways in the progression of ALS is compelling,” said Greg Plowman, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of oncology research at Lilly. “Lilly will provide well-characterized and selective molecules that we hope will help accelerate the development of medicines for ALS.”

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