Three Sapienza Professors Have Received AriSLA Awards for Progress in the Study of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Three Sapienza Professors were amongst the winners of the Call for Projects 2019, announced on November 18 by AriSLA, the Italian Foundation for ALS Research, which selects the best research conducted in Italy on this neurodegenerative disease.
The call aimed to identify the studies that best addressed the mechanisms that lead to motor neuron degeneration and suggest new therapies. Out of the six proposals selected for funding (out of 76 submissions), two involve Sapienza University in project coordination and collaboration.
In the “Pilot Grant” Category, dedicated to highly innovative studies with preliminary data that requires consolidation, Project NKINALS (Natural Killer cells Interplay with motor Neurons and immune cells in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) was selected. The €57,000 project is coordinated by Stefano Garofalo from the Sapienza Department of Physiology and Pharmacology.
The study, which aims to investigate the involvement of immune system cells in the development of ALS, will concentrate, in particular, on the functional role of natural killer cells, whose presence in the central nervous system increases in patients with this disease. For the first time, studies will concentrate on whether these cells have a direct role in damaging motor neurons and activating cytotoxic mechanisms during the disease.
In the “Full Grant” Category, which focuses on projects developed in promising fields and founded on solid preliminary data, Project MUSALS-AChR (Studying acetylcholine receptors and muscle regeneration in ALS to develop prognostic markers and potential therapies hampering disease progression), coordinated by Prof. Caterina Bendotti from the “Mario Negri” IRCCS Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan and developed in partnership with Prof. Eleonora Palma from the Sapienza Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and Maurizio Inghilleri from the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry. The €200,000 project will investigate the regeneratie processes of skeletal muscle compromised by ALS with the objective of identifying potential prognostic markers and new therapeutic aims.