The ALS Association and I AM ALS have awarded a combined grant of $500,000 to BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics, a biotechnology company, to support an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) biomarker research study.

The grant will be used to draw insights from data and samples collected from patients enrolled in BrainStorm’s ongoing phase 3 clinical trial of its NurOwn treatment, to further understanding of critical biomarkers associated with treatment response for people with ALS, the company notes in a media release.

The study is designed to evaluate how NurOwn interacts with its targets in the brain and spinal cord and to explore the changes in the biomarkers that may correlate with response to the drug treatment. If successful, this study will help confirm that the ALS treatment NurOwn works in the way it is intended and will help inform the larger understanding of ALS biomarkers. 

“This grant to BrainStorm marks an important step forward in establishing how exactly NurOwn works in the body. This research is also important to our overall pursuit of identification and validation of ALS biomarkers. We hope NurOwn is ultimately proven effective in treating ALS, and we stand ready to support BrainStorm in its plan to apply for a biologics license for NurOwn.”

— Calaneet Balas, President and CEO of The ALS Association

“We need to move with urgency in all of our efforts to deliver treatments and cures for ALS. This biomarker research will help us more expeditiously understand the effectiveness of NurOwn, while possibly unlocking discoveries that provide clues for other promising treatments. We are at a pivotal time for ALS research in pursuit of treatment solutions and will do whatever we can, together, to drive new answers and new hope for patients.”

— Danielle Carnival, CEO of I AM ALS

The joint award to BrainStorm consists of a $400,000 grant from The ALS Association and a $100,000 grant from I AM ALS. As part of this agreement, BrainStorm has agreed to share data and samples with the ALS community so that the results can be independently validated and to advance other ALS research, per the release.

“We sincerely appreciate the scientific recognition and generous support from The ALS Association and I AM ALS, and we are excited through this study to further an already strong partnership between The ALS Association, I AM ALS and Brainstorm. This critical research study involves one of the largest and most robust clinical trial collections of CSF biomarkers. Data generated from this study will increase our understanding of how NurOwn therapy impacts ALS disease progression and may identify patients who benefit the most from this form of therapy. We also hope that this research study will benefit the broader ALS scientific community as we collectively advance towards our shared goal of delivering much-needed treatments.”

— Chaim Lebovits, CEO of BrainStorm

[Source(s): Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics Inc, PR Newswire]