FightMND commits $2.14 million to SALSA

On Friday September 13th, FightMND announced a commitment of $9 million for 15 different MND research projects, including SALSA-SGC (the Sporadic ALS Australian Systems Genomics Consortium).

SALSA is the largest collaborative MND project ever to be undertaken in Australia. It is led by Professor Naomi Wray of the University of Queensland’s (UQ) Institute of Molecular Bioscience (IMB) and Professor Ian Blair of Macquarie University, and administered by Anjali Henders, Human Studies Manager at IMB.

Professor Naomi Wray will receive nearly $2.2 million over the next three years for the SALSA-SGC, to collaborate with MND clinics around Australia to collect biological samples, clinical data and lifestyle information from people with MND, with the ultimate goal to have samples from every person in Australia with MND.

Professor Wray said "We are moving into an era of 'precision medicine' for many diseases, an approach which uses an individual's biological make-up to develop a personalised treatment plan, or to prevent the disease from occurring altogether. But to make evidence-based decisions on prevention and treatment, we first need data that integrates clinical, lifestyle and biological information–understanding the complex mix of genetic and non-genetic factors that contribute to MND may be a key for prevention. Our long-term goal is that a patient's biological samples taken at the first clinic visit could be used to predict their disease sub-type, which would provide a more accurate prognosis and contribute to the success of future clinical trials of new therapies."

The support from FightMND will enable SALSA to continue the work that was started with the MND Australia Ice Bucket Challenge Grant in 2015. FightMND said "By investing in SALSA-SGC, FightMND will support researchers in the SALSA-SGC project and research nurses at 8 MND clinics across Australia, giving MND patients at each of these sites the opportunity to be involved in important research to advance treatment of MND."

SALSA aims to:

  • Establish consistent collection of longitudinal clinical information from people with MND and create a resource for current and future research that guides the generation of new effective patient-specific preventive therapies.
  • Increase the understanding of genetic and non-genetic factors that contribute to MND and guide the generation of new effective patient-specific preventive therapies.

Read more about SALSA here.