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The 8th Annual California ALS Research Summit
Supports Collaboration and New Ideas in the Fight against ALS

2018_california_als_research_summitMembers of the California ALS Research Network,
along with participants at the 2018 California ALS Research Summit

January 19, 2018 - Palo Alto, California

The Golden West Chapter and the California ALS Research Network co-sponsored the 8th Annual California ALS Research Summit. This two-day event, held at Berg Hall in the Li Ka Shing Center at Stanford University, included more than 120 world leaders in ALS research and clinical care, representatives from biotech companies, and members of The ALS Association- the largest attendance at the summit today. The ongoing purpose of the Summit is to create discussion about ALS, research and funding as well as fostering networking among scientists, clinicians, biotech companies and ALS advocates.

"This is a particularly exciting time for ALS research, with increased funds committed towards the development of treatments for ALS," Lucie Brujin, Chief Scientist of The ALS Association.

“This year, we continue to engage with the leaders of industry and biotech, to come and present along with researchers and clinicians." said Clive Svendsen, PhD, Chair, California ALS Research Network and Director, Cedars-Sinai RMI. "The discussions were stimulating and productive, with a number of new ideas to focus on the coming year."

"Every one of us feels a sense of urgency to develop therapeutics for ALS and that has only increased," said Aaron Gitler, PhD, Professor of Genetics, at Stanford University. "I am very pleased with the participation at this year's Summit"

Attendees of the 8th Annual California ALS Research Summit took part in a marathon two-day meeting with over 50 presentations and panel discussions. The first day included keynote speakers were Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, of Stanford University, who spoke about brain-wide structural and functional analysis, and Cori Bargmann, PhD, of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, who discussed their interest in accelerating science through technology and collaboration. Updates were presented from members of industry, who discussed the different processes of working with pharmaceutical companies to fund trials and make their medications available to the public, and special sessions on genetics, neuroinflamation, and biomarkers. In the evening, there was a special announcement that, under the leadership of Jeffrey Rosefield MD, the Restorative Neurology Center at Loma Linda University Health had achieved status as an ALS Association Certified Treatment Center of Excellence Program. This certification is granted for meeting the highest levels of established national standards of care in the management of ALS, and makes the center the sixth in California.

“We are delighted to have met the criteria for becoming a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence, and are thankful for continued support from The ALS Association Golden West Chapter in helping provide the very best care for people with ALS” said Jeffrey Rosenberg, MD. “I have been fortunate to have attended this research summit since its origin.  It has been an excellent forum to interact and collaborate with other scientists, both clinicians and lab based, and has provided me the foundation for my current collaborations, which might not have been possible otherwise.

The second day of the summit included recognition of the leadership and efforts of Jim Barber, one of the Summit’s founders who lost his battle with ALS in 2015. Afterwards, the second Barber ALS Research Awards were presented to three scientists.  In conjunction with the Summit, people with ALS and their loved ones also attended the Golden West Chapter’s “Ask the Experts” educational symposium where they had an opportunity to hear first-hand, in person, or via live stream, from top clinicians and researchers in the field.

"Next year we move the Summit to University of California, Irvine, and look forward to putting together another great meeting," said Svendsen.  "We are planning to have some activities, based around patients actually mingling with the scientists and clinicians to brainstorm about new ways to treat and eventually cure ALS. Together, we can make progress.”