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UniSR project funded by AriSLA for research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

16 January 2024
Research

Involved 13 research groups distributed in the cities of Milan, Novara, Pisa and Turin

AriSLA Foundation, the most important non-profit organization that finances research on ALS in Italy, announces new funding of almost €1 million (€999,300 to be exact) for the development of 7 innovative projects, selected with the 2023 Call.

The call was aimed at researchers from Italian universities and non-profit Italian public and private research institutes, who could apply in the areas of basic, preclinical or clinical observational research concerning ALS, a very serious neurodegenerative disease which in Italy alone affects around 6 thousand people and which to date has no effective therapy.

“We are pleased to have been able to increase the resources allocated to research this year, which we consider the indispensable tool to respond to the need for therapies for people with ALS

– underlines the President of AriSLA, Mario Melazzini –.

The seven new studies, with which we exceed the quota of 100 projects funded to date, are of the highest quality and very innovative, several use highly advanced models, such as artificial intelligence, and aim to have a concrete impact on the clinic research. A priority included in the 2023 Call, the first piece of our new strategic plan to accelerate the identification of effective interventions for the diagnosis, management and treatment of ALS".

To date, the Foundation has invested €15.98 million in ALS research, the result of the support of those who believe in the value of research. The support of the four founding members is essential, such as AISLA Onlus, the Cariplo Foundation, the Vialli and Mauro Foundation for Research and Sport Onlus and the Telethon Foundation. In more than ten years of activity, AriSLA has supported 149 research groups, distributed throughout Italy, with 105 projects in various research areas, from basic or preclinical to clinical. The projects already funded have generated over 370 scientific publications with a high impact on the international scientific community, an important figure that highlights the quality of the selected studies.

The UniSR project

13 research groups are involved in the seven new research projects, distributed in the cities of Milan, Novara, Pisa and Turin.

These include the 'IDEALS' project, coordinated by Nilo Riva from the IRCCS Foundation Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta of Milan, with partners Angelo Quattrini and Dario Bonanomi, both from the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan. The project, lasting 36 months and financed for €240,000, aims at understanding the specific molecular alterations in the peripheral nervous system that occur at the onset and during the course of the disease: it will carry out advanced molecular analyses to identify new biomarkers of the disease.

In previous AriSLA-funded studies, researchers had demonstrated how histological alterations can be identified in patients' peripheral nerve biopsies at an early stage of the disease. The hypothesis that this new study aims to test through advanced molecular analyses is that some types of cells within the peripheral nervous system (e.g. Schwann or endothelial cells) act as early sensors of damage to motor neurons, the nerve cells mainly affected by ALS, and implement secondary responses that amplify the neuropathology.

From left to right: dr. Nilo Riva, Angelo Quattrini and Dario Bonanomi

AriSLA Foundation

AriSLA, Italian Research Foundation for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Third Sector Entity, was created to promote, finance and coordinate excellent scientific research on ALS. The main organization in Italy and in the European panorama to deal in a dedicated and exclusive manner with research on ALS, AriSLA was established by the will of subjects of excellence in the scientific and philanthropic fields such as A.I.S.L.A. Onlus - Italian Association of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Cariplo Foundation, Telethon Foundation and Vialli and Mauro Foundation for Research and Sport Onlus.

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