The ALS Society of Canada will spearhead Canada’s participation in the international research partnership, Project MinE. The project’s ultimate goal is to identify genes that are associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The function of these genes may lead to disease pathways for which treatment can be developed. Project MinE will map the full DNA profiles of 15 000 people with ALS and 7500 control subjects to establish a global resource of human data that will enable scientists worldwide to better target the disease by understanding the genetic signature that leads someone to develop it. By accumulating such a large amount of data that no one country could achieve alone, it is expected that Project MinE could identify new genetic causes of the disease and potentially accelerate researchers’ abilities to advance treatment possibilities that could slow down or stop ALS. Canada’s goal is to contribute up to 1000 DNA profiles to the international effort.
The ALS Society of Canada is directing an initial $150 000 to Project MinE and is seeking funding from the federal government to support Canada’s ongoing participation in the initiative. Federal funding for Project MinE would allow for the stored DNA profiles of people with ALS to be contributed to the project, and it would enable all Canadians living with ALS to contribute a DNA sample to Project MinE if they so choose.
Research expertise for Canada’s effort is being provided by four of the country’s leading ALS geneticists in Vancouver (Dr Ian Mackenzie), Toronto (Dr Ekaterina Rogaeva), Montreal (Dr Guy Rouleau), and Quebec City (Dr Nicolas Dupre).
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