Public Release: 

Baltimore researcher receives $130,000 for ALS research

American Academy of Neurology

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Baltimore researcher will receive $130,000 to continue her research on the most common subtype of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) through the Clinical Research Training Fellowship in ALS, cosponsored by the American Brain Foundation and The ALS Association. The award was presented in Washington, DC, during the American Academy of Neurology's 67th Annual Meeting, the world's largest meeting of neurologists.

Hristelina S. Llieva, MD, PhD, a fellow in neuromuscular medicine at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, received the award for her examination the most common subtype of familial ALS--the C9ORF72 linked ALS. Llieva's work seeks to answer the question of how different glial cell dysfunction may contribute to familial ALS, which is viewed as a predominantly neuronal disease. "My hope is that better understanding of how these cells contribute to this disease might open potential doors for intervention," said Llieva.

ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease, is a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. Eventually the ability of the brain to start and control voluntary movement is lost. About 10 percent of ALS cases are considered familial ALS. In these cases, more than one person in the family has ALS.

The two-year award will consist of an annual salary of $55,000 plus $10,000 per year for tuition to support formal education in clinical research methodology. Clinical research is the fundamental transition stage between discovery and treatment and provides the scientific basis for all forms of care, addresses patient and caregiver needs and is the backbone for drug development and cost-effectiveness studies needed to improve lives. Fellowships provide recipients with up to two years of "protected time," with salary that allows them to continue important research projects.

"I am both honored and very excited," said Llieva. "I view this as an opportunity to contribute to the clinical ALS research field, and with this opportunity comes the sense of responsibility to both the patients and their families and also to the ALS scientific community to do the best job possible."

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Learn more about ALS at http://patients.aan.com/.

About the American Brain Foundation

The American Brain Foundation, founded by the American Academy of Neurology, supports crucial research and education to discover causes, improved treatments, and cures for brain and other nervous system diseases. Learn more at http://www.americanbrainfoundation.org/ or find the Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

About the ALS Association

The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig's Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The ALS Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. Learn more at http://www.alsa.org/.

Media Contacts:

Rachel Seroka, rseroka@aan.com, (612) 928-6129
Michelle Uher, muher@aan.com, (612) 928-6120

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