• Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disease that targets the neurons of the brain and spinal cord that are responsible for voluntary muscle movements, such as walking, talking and breathing.
  • ALS starts as a mild muscle weakness that progresses relentlessly to complete paralysis and death, usually within 2-5 years from diagnosis.
  • Currently, there is no known cure for ALS and no effective treatment.
  • The James Hunter Family ALS Research Initiative aims to change this by supporting the cutting edge research into the causes and cures of ALS that is being undertaken by a leading team of investigators at the internationally renowned Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Toronto, where a number of major discoveries have been made.
  • The University of Toronto is home to one of the most productive and unique ALS teams in the world, directly linking basic science findings to clinical applications, with the emphasis on design and implementation of truly effective therapeutics.
  • Direct communication between basic science and the clinic is vital to making the essential discoveries that will lead to a cure for ALS. The James Hunter Family ALS Research Initiative is pivotal to transferring the technological advances made in the laboratory and delivering them to the clinic.
  • The James Hunter Family ALS Research Initiative enables the essential therapeutic testing to happen. This crucial part of the scientific process is underfunded, especially for an orphan disease like ALS, where there is little to no investment from pharmaceutical companies.
  • Through support of the James Hunter Family ALS Research Initiative the University of Toronto has already designed a candidate therapeutic that has successfully passed through safety evaluation, and is now being tested in pre-clinical models of ALS.
  • This is the beginning. Increased support will lead to an acceleration by the U of T team in the identification of more therapeutic candidates, using advanced technologies such as in silico screening for high-throughput screening of millions of small molecules.