Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New ALS Research Portal

As part of Prize4Life’s ongoing effort to reach out to researchers and provide them with the tools they need to make biomarker and treatment discoveries, Prize4Life has launched a new ALS research portal, the ALS Forum.

A partnership between Prize4Life and the Alzheimer Research Forum (Alzforum), the ALS Forum went live on May 29, 2009, and the initial response has been swift and positive. “This will be the site for all ALS researchers go to,” one researcher commented, in response to the initial launch. The portal was modeled on the Alzforum site, which has been quite successful in accelerating Alzheimer’s research and promoting Alzheimer’s education (see publication highlighting its impact).

Our two organizations have collaborated to provide researchers and interested audiences with a one-stop shop for ALS research, drug, and conference news, bringing together a variety of sources for the benefit of our audiences. In addition, the ALS Forum provides an indexed database of drugs in development with potential relevance for ALS, and a compilation of useful ALS-related links.

The ALS Forum is intended to collect resources and build capacity to help researchers accelerate their work. We hope that the portal will be recognized as a crucial tool to support scientists making developments in ALS research. In addition, it will serve to advance basic understanding of the complex pathology of the disease. By promoting the use of a central resource, we seek to encourage collaborative research within the scientific community.

Prize4Life and Alzforum developed the ALS Forum to meet researchers’ need for a centralized and convenient resource for ALS news, and we have been delighted with the Forum’s early success. In just over two months, the portal has attracted a steady traffic flow and registered close to 1,800 hits. In the first two months, 127 members have registered for further information, and the Forum sees nearly as much traffic, on average, as the main Prize4Life website.

Researchers have responded positively to the concept and content, which makes us optimistic for its continued growth: “It is terrific,” praised one scientist. “Bravo to you for your efforts in launching the ALS forum.”

As part of our effort to continue to expand the Forum’s network, we recently launched the biweekly ALS Forum Newsletter. This week marks the inaugural edition of the newsletter, which contains links to new content along with brief summaries of the articles. We are excited to be able to share this resource with our collaborators in the fight against ALS.

We are looking to you, the Prize4Life and ALS communities, to help us spread the news about this exciting new venture. You can visit http://www.researchals.org to browse the Forum and sign-up for the biweekly newsletter that will bring news updates directly to your inbox. You can blog or comment about the Forum on other ALS sites. You can mention the Forum to doctors and researchers. You can comment below on more strategies for expanding the Forum network or provide us with additional ideas for valuable web-based research tools and resources you would like to see in the future. Help us make the ALS Forum a go-to resource for all members of the ALS research community.

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