“I believe that understanding the initial event that provokes TDP-43 abnormalities and TDP-43 spread within the nervous system will guide directions for therapeutic development in ALS,” Fatima Gasset-Rosa said.
Fatima Gasset-Rosa, postdoctoral fellow at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California – San Diego in La Jolla, Calif., was awarded an MDA development grant totaling $180,000 over three years to study the role of abnormal TDP-43 protein in ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).
A common feature of the majority of ALS cases is the aggregation of TDP-43 protein in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord. Using neuronal cells and mouse models, Gasset-Rosa and colleagues are working to uncover the mechanisms that cause TDP-43 protein to assemble into these aggregates. In addition, they aim to determine whether the spread of these clumps of abnormal TDP-43 occurs anatomically — from cell to cell — to neighboring regions of the brain and spinal cord, leading to the spreading of disease and progression of ALS.
If successful, Gasset-Rosa’s work could help inform the development of drugs aimed at blocking the formation and propagation of TDP-43 aggregates in ALS.
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