Sunday, July 12, 2009

Prize4Life News Digest - 07/12

Lou Gehrig’s Retirement From Baseball Remembered This Week
This past Saturday, July 4, 2009, marked the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s immortal retirement speech, in which he declared himself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. A single man facing his own ALS diagnosis moved the MLB to take a move active role in supporting ALS research efforts, and his endeavor is celebrated by Newsweek. Read a little bit more about remembering Gehrig and his imminently sportsmanlike tradition in the NY Times. In addition, you can find the MLB press release on Saturday’s events here. There was also extensive local coverage for each MLB event around the country—including in the Boston Globe—if you’re interested in further reading.

ALS Drug Trial Put on Hold by FDA
CytRx has filed a report to the FDA protesting the January 2009 partial hold on a phase 2b efficacy clinical trial of arimoclomol, a CytRx ALS drug candidate. Arimoclomol is a molecular chaperone regulator, based on the finding that correcting cellular protein repair pathways with the help of molecular chaperones can prevent the misfolding of proteins that can make them toxic to the body. CytRx is strongly protesting the hold and insists that it has cooperated fully with FDA regulations regarding animal toxicity reports. There are no reports of adverse effects in human trials.

New Microelectrode Technology Heralds Advances in Translating Brain Signals
Researchers at the University of Utah have made advances in microelectrode technology that bode well for the further development of BrainGate-like technologies that translate brain signals into movement in paralyzed patients. BrainGate researchers and their peers have been using the Penetrating Utah Electrode Array to read signals from brain cells, but now there is a newer system. The new electrode technology allows for the same kind of mental control but relies on electrodes placed on the brain, rather than in the brain. By significantly decreasing the risk of brain damage, this non-invasive electrode placement may make such treatment safe for wide use.

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